The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence announced Wednesday that it was backing Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in his re-election battle against Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
The Pride Fund is a political committee focused on gun violence prevention that “supports candidates who will act on sensible gun policy reforms while championing LGBTQ safety and equality.” It was founded after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
“Gun violence in America is a public health crisis that Florida is all too familiar with since the Pulse massacre and the Parkland shooting,” said Jason Lindsay, founder and executive director of Pride Fund. “In November, voters will make a critical decision between a Democrat who will stand on the side of gun safety or a Republican who will inevitably side with the National Rifle Association.
“Senator Nelson is a critical leader in the fight to pass gun safety measures, and we’re proud to endorse him for re-election to ensure that his voice and votes continue to be heard in the Capitol,” Lindsay continued.
In announcing the endorsement, Pride Fund pointed to Nelson’s vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, his consistent support for an assault weapons ban, his public support for same-sex marriage since 2013, as well as his support for the “No Fly, No Buy Act of 2009,” a bill prohibiting the sale of firearms to individuals on the “no fly” list.
“It’s an honor to earn the support of the Pride Fund, a group focused on ending gun violence and I will continue to work with them and their allies and families in Florida to pass commonsense gun reform,” Nelson said in the announcement.
“In Florida, we know all too well the consequences of gun violence after the shootings at Pulse and in Parkland. Inaction is not an option and we will continue to work together to support commonsense reform to make our communities — our schools, churches, clubs, homes and workplaces — safer for all Floridians,” he concluded.
Pride Fund’s announcement also dogged Scott for his pro-gun stances, saying the two-term governor “would endanger communities across the country with his dangerous position on guns. Scott proudly touts his A+ rating from the NRA and has never truly spoken for the people of Florida.”
The group also cited legislation approved by Scott that preempts local gun laws, and said his response in the wake of Pulse, and now Parkland, was weak.
“Rick Scott has been a cheerleader for the NRA and a nonexistent voice for Florida’s LGBTQ community. After two of the top 10 mass shootings in US history happened in Florida, Scott took no action on gun reform until he decided to run for the Senate. Only then did he push for minor reforms,” the group said. “Florida deserves a senator who will champion LGBTQ equality and stand up to the NRA, which is why Pride Fund is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Senator Bill Nelson in his re-election campaign.”