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Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist said he will ban assault weapons by executive order on his first day in office if elected.
Crist doubled down on his previous interview statement in a Twitter post on Wednesday. “Yes I will,” he wrote.
“I’ll do it by executive order, day one,” he previously said during an interview clip with WPLG Local 10 News’ Glenna Milberg.
Yes I will. https://t.co/sCk8oXqn0H
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) June 1, 2022
Crist has pledged to ban the sale of assault weapons in Florida if elected in a political ad criticizing his opponent, incumbent Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
“(Not so) gentle reminder: Ron DeSantis vowed to pass a deadly permitless open carry law that is identical to the one in Texas,” he wrote.
I pledged to ban the sale of assault weapons in Florida if elected. Chip in $7 to help me beat DeSantis. https://t.co/KHWbWOzfU6
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 31, 2022
In addition to his campaign promise to ban the sales of assault weapons, Crist has also advocated for expanded background checks for new gun owners.
In another Twitter post on Monday, Crist highlighted a quote he gave to a local news source: “’This is such garbage. We’ve got to stop this,’ Crist told the Sun Sentinel, calling for assault-weapon bans and expanded background checks for new gun owners.”
“This is such garbage. We’ve got to stop this,” Crist told the Sun Sentinel, calling for assault-weapon bans and expanded background checks for new gun owners."https://t.co/IYAgxROYIi
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 30, 2022
According to his campaign website, Crist also claims that he seeks to reduce gun violence.
“Reasonable steps to prevent gun violence include extending background checks, preventing domestic abusers from access to firearms, limiting high capacity magazines and assault weapons, and funding locally driven violence prevention strategies,” the website states.
Crist could run into problems, however, if he attempts to ban assault gun sales by executive order.
“Article 4, which does not grant any legislative authority to the governor. An EO to stop sales of firearms that are otherwise legal under Florida and federal statutes would be meaningless and unenforceable. And Crist knows it,” Ed Morrissey reported.
The move would also likely lead to legal battles from Second Amendment supporters who would view the executive order as a violation of the constitutional rights of Floridians.
The push for the day one executive order may not be that concerning, however, based on current polling in Florida. DeSantis leads by an average of 8.8% in head-to-head competition with Crist in polling measured by RealClearPolitics.
A University of North Florida poll in February showed 55% of respondents said they would vote for DeSantis, with 34% indicating a vote for Crist, and 11% who don’t know or refused.
Dr. Michael Binder, Public Opinion Research Lab faculty director and a professor of political science, said voter enthusiasm could support a larger voter turnout that would be an advantage to DeSantis.
“Enthusiasm for the upcoming governor’s race is up in the overall sample, but when you break it down by party registration, we see that 65% of registered Republicans are more enthused than last election, compared with just 49% of Democrats,” Binder said. “This suggests Republicans might be trending toward a larger turnout advantage.”
The state’s primary is August 23.