The GOP 10 gunning for your vote


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Posted August 7, 2020 | By Brad Rogers, Executive Editor

The Aug. 18 primary election is just around the corner, and voters who are registered as Republicans have quite a challenge ahead of them in choosing a candidate to run in November to replace U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho.

There are 10, that’s right, count ‘em, 10 candidates running to replace Yoho, a Gainesville Republican, in the halls of Congress. Oddly, the issue that this group of candidates has coalesced around? A meaningful replacement for Obamacare? No. More affordable housing. Nah. More affordable higher education? Phffft.

No, the GOP 10 have decided it is guns that are the biggest concern of the voters of Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, which stretches from Clay County, south of Jacksonville, to north Marion County. Every single one of them has made protecting the Second Amendment a key part of their platform, and all but one, Amy Pope Wells of Fleming Island, has sent out campaign fliers or broadcast ads featuring themselves shooting or toting a gun.

This, despite the fact gun manufacturers can’t produce guns fast enough to meet public demand. This, despite the fact that gun violence in our own community has become a daily fact of life. This, despite the fact that even after schoolchildren were gunned down in South Florida lawmakers couldn’t find the courage – or wisdom – to put some limits on the most powerful and deadly of firearms.

Folks, no one has a problem getting a gun. And for those of us who take the time, getting a permit to carry a gun is no problem either. The only problem with guns is there are more guns in this country than people – and, unfortunately, too many of those guns are in the hands of the wrong people.

I’m a gun owner and have a conceal carry permit. I am not opposed to guns or to people owning guns. But gun access or ownership is not even a little problem in our country.

So as Republican voters sift through the 10 candidates on the primary ballot, wouldn’t it be nice if those seeking to represent us actually were talking about things that are a real concern. You know, more affordable health care, cheaper prescription prices, lower college costs, more affordable housing, an infrastructure plan for the future, water supply protection, and, lest we forget, getting us out of this dadgum pandemic.

Toting a gun is easy-peasy in this day and time. Finding a way to provide health care to more than 7,000 children in Marion County who have none isn’t. Making fun of gun-control advocates on a TV ad is easy, too. Developing a plan that will allow a youngster to go to college without being saddled with debt the rest of their lives … well, that’s hard.

Measuring who among the GOP 10 loves guns the most is one way to decide who to vote for in the race to be our next congressional representative. But I can think of a hundred issues and concerns that I and most other Floridians have that we’d love to hear about from our politicians.

Theodore Roosevelt, himself an avid shooter, famously said. “A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”

The same could be said about gun-toting political candidates.