DeSantis Speechless When Confronted on Gun Deaths in Florida

( – Republican Governor of Florida and presidential primary candidate Ron DeSantis became embroiled in an argument over gun deaths during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” When discussing Florida’s low rate of crime, host Kristen Walker interjected with CDC data about firearm deaths in the state.

DeSantis said his state was at historic lows for criminal activity and that violent crime specifically was down 30% since he took over as governor. Welker added that deaths from firearms were actually higher compared to the previous governor, to which DeSantis replied mortality is up across the board in the post-pandemic period.

The CDC’s data shows that in 2018 under former Governor Rick Scott the “firearm mortality rate” was 12.9%. DeSantis took over in 2019 and the rate dropped to 12.7% for that year. In 2020 it climbed to 13.7% and in 2021 it again rose to 14.1%. It should be noted that firearm mortalities include suicides where guns were used, and death by suicide always makes up a large plurality of firearm death statistics.

Before getting snippy over gun deaths, the pair discussed the recent mass shooting in Maine where 18 people were shot to death and more than a dozen additional people were wounded when a lone shooter opened fire at a local venue. After being declared armed and dangerous for several days, the body of the suspect, Robert Card, 40, was found at a recycling plant where he had worked. Preliminary analysis from police suggests he killed himself.

Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck acknowledged that Card had a history of mental health problems and asked the public to refrain from making general presumptions about people who struggle with mental health difficulties.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, the Lewiston, Maine shooting is the worst mass shooting on record for 2023. During his conversation with Welker, DeSantis defended the idea of involuntarily committing Card, suggesting it could have prevented the tragedy. Welker advocated for red flag laws which are a popular measure granting authorities the power to temporarily seize firearms from people who have exhibited instability or made threats of mass harm.

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