9 Investigates financial firepower of gun advocates in Fla.



ORLANDO, Fla. - The world was devastated by the painful images from the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The shootings happened days before Florida issued its one-millionth concealed weapon permit. 

But last week, when WFTV pressed Gov. Rick Scott on possible gun law or school safety changes, he would not commit to any specific new ideas.

“As I said in there, the first thing we ought to do is think about these poor families, how their lives have been impacted,” said Scott.

When pressed again, Scott said, “I want to look at all the different proposals first.” 

He also told reporters that Florida’s crime rate is at a 41-year low.

Now, 9 Investigates has done the math on the financial firepower of gun advocates in the Sunshine State and found since 1996, when the National Rifle Association Political Victory fund opened, it has spent almost $2.4 million in Florida politics.

In earlier years, much of that money went to specific candidates and their campaigns, usually in the maximum donation of $500. 

House and Senate majority groups also got $10,000 donations. 

But more recently, financial records show the committee has shifted to more direct interaction with Florida constituents, using direct mailing and even phone calls. 

9 Investigates found many expenditures to a direct marketing company called ProList Inc, including a $32,000 payment on a single day in July for postage.

Gun control advocates spend money, too.  A campaign to close the so-called “gun show loophole” spent $200,000 between1998 and 1999. 

But in general, such groups are much smaller and have far less money. 

Gun control advocates said there is no group approaching the NRA’s size on the opposing side.