Why the NRA Stumbled in Gun-Crazed Florida

This is Florida.

Photographer: Charles Ommanney/Getty Images

President Donald Trump made his predictable retreat from conflict with the National Rifle Association this week. He had promised to take on the gun lobby amid loose talk of better background checks and an increase in the age limit for purchasing firearms. But, to no one's surprise, he quickly backed down, after a White House visit from the NRA.

Yes, once again, the familiar cycle of gun violence and promises of action yielded to capitulation. Yet this time something was different. Not in Washington, but in Florida, where last week gun-safety activists proved that they could out-muscle the NRA not just in blue states, or on the most extreme proposals in red states, but on central issues on the NRA’s home court.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, a previously reliable devotee of the NRA, with an A+ rating from the group, signed legislation raising the age to purchase all firearms from 18 to 21. In addition, the law bans the sale and possession of bump stocks, which enable semi-automatic rifles to mimic automatic weapons. It imposes a three-day waiting period on most long-gun purchases. It establishes a red-flag process to empower local law-enforcement officials to petition a court to remove guns from an individual showing warning signs of violence.