With new surveys showing most Americans now prioritize gun safety over gun rights, a leading voice for stricter gun laws has endorsed two Democratic Florida congressional candidates Friday as “gun safety champions.”
Jared Moskowitz and Maxwell Alejandro Frost both won praise from former Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt and went on to found Giffords PAC with her husband, Sen. Mark Kelly.
Moskowitz is running in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District to succeed Congressman Ted Deutch. Friday’s endorsement is one of several attesting to Moskowitz’s gun safety bona fides.
He earned an “F-minus” grade from the National Rifle Association following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland. He was serving as the area’s state Representative when the bullets flew at his alma mater.
Moskowitz is the kind of leader the country needs as it awakens to mass shooting incidents like the kind that have shaken Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, Giffords argued.
“Every day, more and more families are torn apart by senseless violence and it’s incumbent on all of us to do something,” Giffords said. “Jared Moskowitz has pushed to pass the kinds of commonsense solutions needed to stop America’s epidemic of gun violence at the state and national level — like universal background checks and extreme risk protection order laws.”
Moskowitz also has been formally backed by survivors of those killed at MSD and received the designation as a “candidate of distinction” from Moms for Gun Sense. He praised Giffords’ efforts and pledged to continue working with her PAC.
“I am especially grateful for the support of Giffords because gun violence prevention is personal to me,” Moskowitz said. “I’ve always been passionate about this issue and, after the shooting in my hometown of Parkland, stopping gun violence became my life’s mission.”
Moskowitz’s own young son was at a nearby school in lockdown as law enforcement responded to MSD. The boy was being comforted by a teacher who would later learn her own daughter had been killed at the high school.
“I pushed a gun violence prevention bill through the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, and I know that we can pass the same measures and more at the federal level,” Moskowitz said. “Congresswoman Giffords has been a courageous and steadfast leader on this issue, and I look forward to working with the Giffords organization to make these goals a reality.”
Giffords also praised Frost, for his involvement in organizing gun safety activism after the shots rang out in Parkland. The Black Lives Matter activist, who has also worked as a staffer with the ACLU, is running to succeed U.S. Rep. Val Demings in Congress in a four-way Democratic Primary in Florida’s 10th Congressional District.
“In the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, they helped mobilize a movement for gun safety that is now stronger than ever,” Giffords said of both Moskowitz and Frost. “I know that they will always find the courage necessary to confront the special interests and protect our kids and communities from gun violence.”
Frost said he’s dedicated his life to ending gun violence and welcomed the new endorsement.
“Today, we lose 100 people a day from guns and the urgency to address this crisis is greater than ever,” he said in a statement. “Giffords has played a critical role in growing our movement and building public support to pass meaningful gun safety reform.”
New public opinion polls in the wake of the latest mass shooting incidents show gun safety is an issue that’s now resonating with more.
A majority of American adults now prioritize gun safety over gun rights, according to a poll taken after the latest spasm of mass casualty events. The 59%-to-35% margin that the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found is the widest in favor of controlling gun violence recorded in a decade in the Marist poll. But those numbers are similar to what Marist has found over the last four years since the Parkland shooting, NPR reports.