Florida Agricultural Commissioner and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam voiced some strong words of support for open and campus carry this week.
At a Tuesday press conference at the Florida National Guard Armory in Tallahassee, the GOP candidate discussed the issues in relation to recently failed pieces of legislation that would have made it legal to openly carry in public and also carry on university campuses, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“I think there is absolutely a pathway for Florida to get to a form of open carry,” Putnam said. “And I think that we have a track record in Florida of law-abiding citizens who submit their fingerprints, undergo a background check and lawfully exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. And Continuing to expand their opportunities to exercise those 2nd Amendment rights is something I support.”
Putnam also spoke on ridding the state of gun-free zones at the press conference, which was scheduled to mark the two-year milestone of a Florida program that expedites concealed carry permits for veterans and military service members.
“I think that gun-free zones where the victims have no opportunity to defend themselves ought to be modified in a responsible way, Putnam said, “so people can exercise their 2nd Amendment rights to protect themselves.”
“Think of the number of students who are also in the Guard,” Putnam continued. “Think of the number of students who have done their time in Afghanistan or Iraq. Think of the number of students who have had extraordinary amounts of firearms training, who are highly qualified, highly competent and safe. There is absolutely a way for people to exercise their 2nd amendment rights in a responsible way.”
After the press conference, Democrats took the opportunity to blast Putnam for criticizing those in Tampa Bay who protested the National Rifle Association’s recent recruitment ad.
“Classic progressive move,” Putnam said in a Facebook post. “Desperate attempt to limit our 2nd Amendment rights.”
Johanna Cervone, spokeswoman for the Florida Democratic Party, went so far as to say Putnam was “encouraging violence against fellow Americans” by supporting the ad.
Tallahassee Mayor also bashed Putnam, saying: “Once again, Commissioner Adam Putnam has shown us just whose side he is on: the National Rifle Association. … It’s a shameful day when someone who wants to lead our state stands behind such violent, divisive rhetoric, and against commonsense gun protections for Floridians.”
Putnam is currently the only Republican who has declared himself a candidate for the 2018 governor’s race in Florida.