The national gun control political action committee Moms Demand Action has given Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto its “Gun Sense Candidate” Distinction, demonstrating how far he has come since he once was endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
The group, formed as part of Everytown for Gun Safety after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is one of only two gun-control organizations backing candidates as a counterweight to the NRA. However, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America calls its badge of honor a distinction rather than an endorsement, and sometimes awards more than one in the same race.
“Thank you again for standing up for gun violence prevention and recognizing gun safety,” the group stated.
Soto has been criticized — largely by his Democratic primary opponent, former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson — for being more in line with the NRA when he was in the Florida Legislature. The NRA gave Soto an A rating and endorsed him in his 2010 state House campaign.
Later in his Florida House tenure, his state Senate tenure and in Congress, Soto’s NRA ratings plunged. He has maintained that he is a strong proponent of gun law reforms. A few days after the 2016 massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, Soto was among the first Florida lawmakers to call for bans of assault weapons.
“In Congress, Darren Soto is a 100 percent reliable vote for gun safety reform,” his campaign declared in a news release.
“Darren stood up to the NRA, has fought for gun safety legislation, and has put forward a five-point gun safety reform plan that requires universal background checks; keeps guns away from those who are a danger to others or themselves; bans assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks; creates a Red Flag System of gun-violence restraining orders; and bans guns for those on FBI terrorist watch list — No Fly, No Buy,” the release continued.