BY BUDDY NEVINS
A just week after the Colorado theater shooting, gun control has become an issue in a Central Broward Florida House Democratic primary race.
The issue surfaced in House District 98 when Katie Edwards received an “A” Rating from the National Rifle Association. Her opponent Louis Reinstein had received the same rating by mistake and asked that it be withdrawn.
Edwards’ “A” Rating, which is defined by the NRA as a candidate who is “solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.”
It is the same rating that conservative Republican Tea Party darling U. S. Rep. Alan West received from the NRA.
Now gun control has opened some space between Edwards and Reinstein, who have virtually identical stands on almost every other issue.
Reinstein says Edwards’ acceptance of the NRA rating is out-of-step with the Democratic leaning district.
Edwards said her views differ dramatically from the NRA despite the “A” rating.
How much gun control means to the voters in Davie, Plantation and Sunrise is hard to gauge. All polls show gun control is on few voters minds compared to education and the state budget.
Edwards said that since Reinstein has begun attacking her on gun control, only two voters have contacted her to question her position.
She said gun control was a distraction, since there was very little chance of any such legislation being passed in the NRA-friendly Florida Legislature.
“I could introduce any legislation and it would be turned down or struck down,” she said. “This is political posturing. Of all the issues we are facing, this is not in the forefront of the voters’ minds.”
Reinstein countered with this e-mail:
“My opponent and I have a serious disagreement about what is important for our neighbors in District 98. We also clearly disagree on Constitutional interpretation—but this is also a distinction between Democrats and Republicans as evidenced by the laws passed by our Republican-led Legislature and Governor Scott. Does she really believe that it is okay to bring a gun into a movie theater or on a college campus? She must have answered “Yes” to this to receive an ‘A’ rating by the NRA. We have too many examples from as recent as in Colorado and Virginia that tell us we need to stand strong against the extreme positions of the NRA. Does she think that this State should become more like the old Wild West allowing the open carry of firearms? She must have answered “Yes” to this to receive an ‘A’ rating by the NRA. These are the positions that my opponent has wholly adopted and which is evident by her ‘A’ rating from them. When was the last time you saw a Democratic candidate endorsed by the NRA in a Democratic Primary? The NRA is so sure about her that they are even sending out mailers on her behalf! Her support for extreme positions such as the ones taken by the NRA is another reason why she is not right for District 98.
Edwards, in message sent from her cell phone, put distance between the NRA and herself concerning some of the issues that concern the group. The NRA has been skeptical about background checks, waiting periods and doctors being able to question patients about gun ownership.
“If he (Reinstein) is a “constitutional lawyer” as he says he knows the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) rulings on State gun control laws and the tendency of SCOTUS to strike down laws that violate the Second Amendment.
Yes, I believe in reasonable, common sense restrictions like background checks, waiting periods, and doctors being able to inquire and inform about gun ownership.
I have a law degree as does my opponent and I have a better grasp of Second Amendment litigation apparently.”
Here is her rating on the NRA website:
|Katie Edwards (D)||Grade: A||Contact|
|Louis Reinstein (D)||Grade: ?|