Governor Rick Scott Blames ISIS, Not Second Amendment, For Orlando Shootings


On Friday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott told CNN that he believed the takeaway from last week’s Orlando nightclub shooting was that the country should focus more on fighting ISIS and less on gun control.

“The Second Amendment didn’t kill anybody,” he said in an interview, calling the attack prompted by radical Islam. “I’m tired of what’s going on in our country. That we don’t focus enough on ISIS.”

Early on Sunday morning, a single shooter attacked the LGBTQ nightclub Pulse in Orlando, FL, killing 49 people before he was shot. During the attack, the shooter called 911 to proclaim his allegiance to terrorist groups, including ISIS. So far, investigations have not found proof that the shooter was directed by any organization.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, some wondered how the shooter, who had been previously investigated for terrorism, could have been allowed to purchase a firearm. On Wednesday, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy initiated a nearly 15-hour filibuster, preventing the Senate from moving forward on any legislation until the issue of gun control was addressed. He ended the filibuster at just after 2 a.m. Thursday, after legislators promised to take a vote on banning those on a terrorism watch list from purchasing guns, as well as a vote on universal background checks.

Scott spoke in general support of the idea. “Nobody would think that anybody on a terrorist watch list should have a gun,” Scott said. “We all can agree we don’t want somebody who’s going to do something like that to be walking around with any weapons.”

But he stopped short of speaking in support of action to restrict access to guns. “Let’s remember, the Second Amendment has been around for more than 200 years. That’s not what killed innocent people,” he said. “Evil killed innocent people."

Instead, Scott said he favored policies to restrict immigration and monitor those coming into the country. He referenced the ongoing debate about the intake of refugees from Syria, asking whether in the interest of public safety, he would be given information about refugees admitted to Florida.

"There’s going to be a time to have a conversation about what we do to make our state or our city or our country safer again," he said. "But let’s have a conversation about how we destroy ISIS. Where’s that conversation?”
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