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Gwen Graham: Politicians Must Choose — Our Children or the NRA

by Chelsea Handler | Updated on 3.27.18

Read the article below and take action by recording a video message. These videos might then be shared by Chelsea to reach millions of other voters, and help impact the outcome of the election. This article was originally written and published by the Tallahassee Democrat.


Meeting with student survivors in Parkland this past week, the first question each of them had for me was whether I’ve taken money from the NRA.

Just days after losing their classmates to a senseless shooting, they had already identified the problem: The politicians in charge of Washington and Tallahassee have all been bought by the NRA. They’ve sold their votes to the gun lobby and weapons manufacturers, who make millions while our children are murdered.

I represented North Florida in Congress, where we embrace hunting culture. My husband is a sworn law enforcement officer who safely keeps a gun in our home. I respect the Second Amendment — but as a mother, I also believe there is no place in our society for weapons of war like the assault rifles used at Pulse and in Parkland.

Because I hold those views and for didn't pledge to blindly vote with them, the NRA and the gun lobby spent almost $300,000 against me when I ran for Congress.

Standing on my principles, I beat the NRA.

Rick Scott, Adam Putnam, Ron DeSantis and the Republicans who control our state’s legislature have taken millions from the NRA, and the gun lobby has flooded airwaves and mailboxes attacking those of us who believe in common sense gun reforms.

As a result, Florida has some of the weakest gun laws in the country. Under 20 years of Republican rule in our Legislature, the NRA has kept its agenda alive and well, prioritizing profits over public safety. In January 2016, it cost us five lives in the Fort Lauderdale airport. In June 2017, it cost us 49 lives in Pulse Nightclub. Last week, it cost us 17 lives in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

How many more have to die to convince the NRA sellouts that defending the gun lobby isn’t worth their campaign contributions? Putnam, who as agriculture commissioner regulates gun permitting, is refusing to answer whether he still considers himself an “NRA Sellout,” a title he proudly gave himself after the Pulse massacre.

While Richard Corcoran and 70 other House Republicans voted against even debating a ban on assault weapons, a handful of Senate Republicans are working with Democrats on a package of gun safety proposals.

They don’t go far enough, but I applaud them for taking the first steps. Now is the time for Scott to stand up to the NRA and use his bully pulpit to advance gun safety. If our so-called leaders in Tallahassee refuse to act, we need to listen to our children’s cries for help and vote them out.

We need new leadership in Tallahassee, and as governor, I will work with the Legislature to strengthen background checks, ban large-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and invest in mental health. And if the Legislature won’t work with me, I will veto every one of their priorities until they come to the table, ready to protect our children.

I’m running for governor, but I met with the student survivors of Stoneman Douglas as a mother. And as a mother, I promised them I will do everything in my power to fight for and pass common sense gun safety laws.

I’m going to beat the NRA again, as a mother — and together, we will make Florida safer for all our children.


Gwen Graham is a candidate for governor of Florida.

Chelsea Handler

Written by Chelsea Handler

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