Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) doggedly avoided CNN host Soledad O’Brien’s requests on Wednesday to take a definable position on gun laws after last week’s mass shooting in Connecticut.
“What would you support in terms of legislation, if it in fact comes with that?” O’Brien asked. “Do you believe in stricter gun laws. You’re well supported by the NRA, and historically they have not supported that. How far would you be willing to go?”
Scott, who has received an A rating from the National Rifle Association, dodged the question, instead beginning his answer by reaffirming his support for the Second Amendment.
“What I want to focus on right now is our families, make sure our state’s schools are safe,” he said.
Scott also revisited his oft-mentioned statistic that his state’s crime rates are at a 41-year-low.
“We’re doing the right things in our state,” Scott concluded. “But whenever anything happens like this, let’s step back and say, ‘What can we improve?’”
O’Brien pointed out that, as someone who has had to cover multiple shooting tragedies in the past, Scott’s answer was a familiar one.
“I guess I would like to hear from elected officials: what are you willing to change?” she asked. “Your daughter — you’ve talked about her — she’s a teacher. Is your answer, ‘Let’s arm the teachers’? Some people have proposed that. Is your answer, ‘Let’s not make these semi-automatic rifles, the long guns, available? Do you think background checks actually should be instituted? Right now somebody can be mentally ill, and it won’t show up in a background check. Or somebody can have a conviction for domestic violence and can still get a gun. Where does it start? What are you comfortable doing?”
Out of all those options, Scott chose none.
“Let’s talk about all of the issues and think about what we can do to improve it,” he repeated. “But here is what I think. one, I have been to the law enforcement funeral desk in our state, and your heart goes out to those families. And then afterwards you say, ‘What can we do to improve?’”
After the governor touted his state’s progress again, a frustrated O’Brien declared, “I think with all due respect, you’re not going to answer my question,” before asking him once more what he would be willing to term a good start to the discussion.
And again, Scott demurred.
“My focus is, one, respect the families, mourn their losses, make sure our schools are safe, and then start the conversation and listen to Floridians,” he said.
Finally, O’Brien ended the interview with a note of disgust.
“I hope it all those conversations turn into meaningful conversations before I get to go out and cover another tragedy of which we’ve now done a bunch of them,” she said.
Watch O’Brien’s interview with Scott, aired Wednesday on CNN, below.
[h/t Think Progress]