Charlie Crist and Guns: A Sorry History

The past few weeks I have been struck by the number of Democrats in Florida who are pushing publicly for gun control measures while also talking about the prospects of former Governor Charlie Crist representing the Democratic Party as our nominee in the 2014 Gubernatorial election. Crist has indicated on any number of issues that he has “evolved” rapidly in his thinking while not being pinned down specifically on most matters. Crist claimed after Newtown that he is now in favor of restrictions on gun ownership. These would be the first such restrictions he has has favored in his long career of running for elective office. This flip-flop also happened just days after he registered as a Democrat. Let’s look at Crist’s history closely on issues of guns and gun safety.

Beginning in the State Senate in 1992, Crist compiled as pro-gun a record as possible. His scores from the NRA were that of a conventional conservative Republican, one who voted against the will of his urban district that stretched from Downtown St Petersburg to South Tampa. Crist voted more in line with the NRA than any other Pinellas County Republican legislator during this period even as his own Congressman Bill Young was supporting some of President Clinton’s gun control measures.

In 2004,  Attorney General Crist personally nominated  Marion P. Hammer the national NRA President to Florida’s Women’s Hall of Fame. She was inducted in December 2004 after being approved by Jeb Bush. Crist meanwhile used the gun issue to increase his bonafides with a GOP base  that otherwise may have questioned him. Crist would benefit directly from strong support NRA support in the 2006 Republican Primary for Governor. While many leading conservatives in Florida supported Tom Gallagher, whose track record of losing important statewide elections is second to none in state history, Crist was loudly supported by the NRA. Gallagher had moved to the right of Crist on several issues but still supported some minimal restrictions on gun ownership. Crist on the other hand did not support any such restrictions. The resulting primary rout reinforced the perception/fear among rank in file Republicans that gun control was more important than being conservative on any other issue. Crist’s strong pro-gun stands allowed him to win a conservative activist dominated primary with ease.

His record as Governor continued his long support of guns including the infamous “take your gun to work” legislation he publicly advocated and proudly signed into law.

A full accounting of Crist’s pro-gun stands is listed below:

Senate Candidate Crist (1998):

  • “In one of his first high-profile gun battles, Crist blasted then Gov. Lawton Chiles’ last-minute effort to require criminal background checks and a waiting period for purchases made at gun shows in 1998.”
  • “Hammer[NRA] said Crist earned an “A” rating as a political newcomer”

Attorney General Crist:

  • “As attorney general, Crist nominated Marion P. Hammer, former president of the National Rifle Association, to the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, and she was inducted in 2004. Hammer is also the longtime president of the state’s NRA affiliate Unified Sportsmen of Florida.”
    • Tampa Bay Times 9/6/12
  • “The National Rifle Association has endorsed Charlie Crist over Tom Gallagher in the Republican campaign for governor, a move that helps Crist shore up his conservative credentials even as Gallagher tries to campaign to the right of him. […] Gallagher “may be good now. He hasn’t always been good,” Hammer [NRA FL Lobbyist] said. “Charlie Crist has always been there.”
  • In his 2006 primary against Republican rival Tom Gallagher, Crist ran an ad calling Gallagher “anti-gun” and highlighting Crist’s endorsement from the NRA.
    • Tampa Bay Times 9/6/12

Governor Crist:

  • “He signed into law legislation that allowed 500,000 concealed weapons permit-holders to bring their guns to work”
  • “He vetoed a move by lawmakers to take $6 million out of the trust fund that pays for licensing gun owners and processing concealed weapons permits”
  • “The national Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms rewarded his efforts by bestowing him the title of “Gun Rights Defender of the Month” in July 2009.”
    • PolitiFact Florida 7/14/2010
    • “In 2010, just when it seemed that the NRA had nothing else to fight for, Hammer pushed for a bill preventing the Legislature from raiding the concealed weapons trust fund to cover budget shortfalls.  Then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist signed the bill and handed an appreciative Hammer a blue pen.  “Marion,” Crist said at a 2010 bill-signing ceremony, “I want to thank you for doing so much to protect the Second Amendment.”
      • Tampa Bay Times 1/8/13


Senate Candidate Crist (2010):

  • “Gov. Crist has never wavered in his support of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.” From Charlie Crist’s campaign Website on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
    • St. Petersburg Times 7/14/10
    • “PolitiFact had a hard time finding any instance where Crist refused to back gun rights. We scanned roughly 1,000 news articles that mentioned Crist and the words “bear arms,” “Second Amendment,” and “gun restrictions.””
      • St. Petersburg Times 7/14/10
  • “I am pro-gun, pro-family and I am anti-tax, and I always have been”
  • The NRA backed Crist over Rubio in the Republican primary.  NRA Florida Chief Marion Hammer said “At the time, he was a steadfast in his support of the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
    • Tampa Bay Times Buzz Blog 12/20/12
  • “As recently as 2010, when Crist was running as a Republican for U.S. Senate, he accused rival Marco Rubio of being soft on guns and supporting a waiting period and background checks that were already in state law.”
  • Did not support Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court because “Judge Sotomayor would not strictly and objectively construe the Constitution and lacks respect for the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”  Some called it a “strategic suck-up to radical Republicans” or a “crass political calculation.”
    • The Orlando Sentinel 7/21/09 and Sun Sentinel 7/31/09
  • Praised US Supreme Court decision (5-4) that no matter where you live in America you have the right to keep a handgun in your home.  “Gov. Crist is very pleased that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed our Second Amendment rights,” spokeswoman Michelle Todd said. “Respecting the Constitution is critical to the continued well-being of all Americans.”
    • Palm Beach Post 6/29/10
    • “Most recently, Crist’s campaign celebrated the Second Amendment in a Twitter message.” Pleased w the US Supreme Court’s decision today reaffirming our 2nd Amendment rights,” he tweeted on June 28 [2010], hours after the court ruled the Second Amendment gives all Americans a right to keep and bear arms for self-defense that trumps state and local laws.”
      • PolitiFact Florida 7/14/2010
      • His stance was reaffirmed by the NRA – “He has always throughout his career been a strong advocate for the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen, never voted against us, always voted with us as governor,” Marion Hammer said. “He signed every piece of legislation gun owners asked him to sign and vetoed every piece of legislation negatively impacting gun owners and sportsman that gun owners asked him to veto. He has an outstanding record of support.”
        • St. Petersburg Times 7/14/10

As Obama Supporter and aspiring Dem Gov. Candidate:

  • MSNBC host Chuck Todd reminded Crist during an interview that he once identified himself as “a pro-life, pro-gun conservative” – asking whether that’s still how he’d characterize himself, regardless of party. “Yes, I would,” said Crist.
    • MSNBC Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd 9/13/12

Days after registering as a Democrat:

  • “Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who throughout his long political career has been staunchly pro-gun rights, said Wednesday that after the Connecticut school slayings, he now backs controls.  He expressed support for a renewed assault weapons ban, a size limit on ammunition clips and tougher background checks.”
  • In response to Crist’s new stance, NRA Florida Chief Marion Hammer said “I’m not surprised that Charlie Crist is now joining the gun ban chant of anti-gun Democrats. Recently, Charlie Crist has been systematically turning his back on many things in which he has claimed to believe. He currently claims to be a deer hunter. I suspect that the only thing he has actually ever hunted is political office.”
    • Tampa Bay Times Buzz Blog  12/20/12



  1. The guy is a threat on things like this. Who cares about his party! He sucks and the Democrats just like the Republicans think no one is paying attention. WE ARE!

    Charlie is just like the rest of the schmucks who care more about the NRA than the PEOPLE!
    I would NEVER vote for him.


  2. This article is great but the writer should realize the party is corrupt and that is why the establishment is pushing this loser. He is not good on the gun issue as you have pointed out and I am sure Rouson or some national figure will say…..well he can’t be great on everything.

    If the Democrats push this loser the Democrats will lose again just like they have in the past.
    They need anyone but Crist!


    1. Bush cronies along with Koch bros, Halliburton, Big oil & All others out to Rape & Pillage environmentally & take away from the 99% have infiltrated some parts of the Dem Party too, in Florida.. With “New eyes”, I have looked at why the FDP chair (TANT-RICHARDS) is doing some of the obstructing going on here in FL along with the scant amount of network affiliated news media in I-4 corridor & other areas. Who is Tant married too?, Who sponsors news affiliates in this area along with Former (R) Gov Crist?, Why does John Morgan Esq really want Crist in?, (to legalize Marijuana because he cares..Nope) he isn’t really “For the people”, but for “himself” & next Gov chooses 4 retiring supreme court Justices in FL which will make FL supreme court like the SCOTUS…bought & paid by & for the 1 %! (crist chose 2 most conservative justices while FL Gov as Republican).
      Why won’t Crist Debate Rich? Because he will look like an idiot? By NOT debating, Crist, & other Bush Cronies are keeping Florida politics in an uproar, once again blaming us voters for the smoke, mirrors & chaos.
      Just like in 2000 when a rigged election (COUP), along with tricky computer voting machines made by “Diebold” & rigged to switch vote numbers for the Republican W Bush, here we are again, and will soon start hearing “Floriduh” again & how “stupid” everyone in Florida who votes is…. Will (R) Jeb Bush be the next Bush to be handed the presidential election like his bro, George W. Bush? Rove is still lurking around. Many of the same people in 2000 coup are still around & in play. This election (2000) was never investigated.
      If Scott wins again Big Money wins & Florida/Floridians lose.
      If Crist wins Big money & Floridia/Floridians lose
      Vote for the best Candidate the only Truly honest candidate & someone who knows what they are doing & will work for us, not LEECH off of Florida resources like water and other natural resources & pollute all with Petroleum & more, plus leave the majority of Floridians in a very, very bad way, financially, medically, security wise ( gunsense) & very much lacking in basic necessities of every day life.
      We must all coexist & work together NO matter your race, faith, ethnicity, sexuality…on & on.
      Please, support & vote for Democrat, Senator Nan Rich for Florida Governor on August 26, 2016. SHE CAN BEAT INCUMBENT (R) Tea Bag Gov R Scott!
      All of our lives are depending on it. If you cannot vote for any reason, tell others why they should vote for her. Ask People in other states to share and ask others they know who vote in FLA to vote. share, share, share.
      This is reality. Peoples’ lives in the balance here. Do the right thing.
      Let’s show “them” that competitent people who know their job well and can do them well, can be elected by voters who also believe in honesty and hard work.
      Show them we CAN elect the “BEST” Candidate without the most Corrupt and most wealthy 1 %.
      Thanks and please “share” everywhere!


  3. Who cares! He’s a Democrat now and did all this stuff to appeal to Republicans. After he was forced out of the party because if his more left views he changed on all this. I believe we need to allow for candidates and elected officials to evolve through time as circumstances and elements change.


    1. I agree politicians and elected officials have to have the ability to “evolve” on issues. But Crist’s record on guns was consistent even AFTER he left the GOP and ran for Senate as an Independent. His record on guns was the most pro-NRA of any legislator from Pinellas County in legislature or congress in the 1990s and most of their delegation were Republicans. As AG and Governor he was a strong proponent and advocate of guns. He wasn’t just this passive figure that went along with the NRA because he was a Republican- he was the chief advocate for pro-gun legislation in the state.


  4. Just because he is a Democrat does not mean he has changed his stance on anything. You are out of your mind and your way of thinking is part of why the public is being screwed in Tallahassee. Look at the Democrats who have voted 100% wrong on the legislation that you all scream about at meetings and rallies.

    You are all a bunch of freaks. Awake the state! Awake your ass up and pay attention.


  5. Dems forever · ·

    You wanna win???? Get behind Charlie warts and all and stop this pure leftist crusade!!! A lot of people changed after Newtown and now are string gun control advocates. Crist is just one of many and now is a Democrat. He’s one of us!


    1. I don’t know how you say “he’s one of us” based on his record. He could be one of us eventually but must prove it.


  6. OrlandoDem · ·

    What do you think you are winning? Charlie has not changed his stance on anything. Democrats have voted for this shit too. Wake up you partisan hack!


  7. One of us? Many of us as you call it also voted with Crist on all this NRA bullshit. We are voting these people out not in.


  8. CharLIE is liable to make up any story, anytime to survive. He is a chameleon and the worst kind of one. Those who say we need him to win, we haven’t exactly been winning with moderates before, those who do not excite the activist base of the party. Why would Crist, a conservative Republican who lies for a living be any different?


  9. Come on Now! · ·

    The left and this maniacal obsession with guns is going to rip our party apart. Obama & Biden have foolishly and arrogantly made this an issue hanging tons of Democrats out to dry. Look at our state and drive around. Guns and gun shops everywhere. These areas elect Republicans but many elected Democrats at one time. By opposing the American majority on a ugh and mighty gun crusade we will become a permanent minority. Guns are what ensures our freedom and you can be pro education, women’s rights, environment etc and still be pro gun like Crist is.


    1. Interesting…reality and electoral results trump politico inflicted perception. More on that in the series I am republishing this weekend.


  10. CharLIE?

    Not funny at all

    Do you want to win or lose??? You are enabling the Republicans if you tear down Crist. This website I swear was only created to destroy him under the mantra of being progressive.

    I would like to ask Kartik who is so smarmy, arrogant and self fulfilling in his out of the mainstream liberalism who he proposes as a nominee? Does he want the Democrats to win or lose the election? Does he want to see Rick Scott defeated?

    Charlie Crist is a Democrat. He is as much a Democrat as you are or any of the posters here. It is not for you to be the arbiter of who is a Democrat or not. This is not a private club of do-good lefties and the last I checked the person you backed or party chair lost, though the person who won, Mrs. Tant-Richard is awful also. Because she is so awful and so was the other party people Crist will become the defacto leader of the party. He has John Morgan’s money (which you know about since you blog all the time about the trial lawyers being disloyal Democrats) and can create the infrastructure you always complain the party lacks. You should reconsider your view.


  11. Blue Dog Dem · ·

    I am pro gun but despise Crist as the type of person who give politics and politicians a bad name.

    As an aside AIPAC had a state fundraising and awareness event here in Tallahassee yesterday. They featured Jeff Atwater and bashed Obama. Why are they involved in state issues and state legislative debates??? This is why the neocons win and control our foreign policy.


    1. The NeoCons have too much influence over American foreign policy. We need policy makers who put America and Americans first not global power games, foreign governments or voting constituencies first.


  12. Awesome posting!!!


  13. This record does not matter in reality. He is now a Democrat and he has won more statewide cabinet elections than the Ds have this millennium. So if you want to keep losing keep it up buster.

    You always complain about the Democrats losing and not being organized. Maybe it is because we have candidates who suck.

    Crist is the ticket forward, a proven winner with true Dem credentials. Look at what he did for Obama! Obama loses Florida without him.


    1. It is true that Crist has won more statewide than the Dems. It is also true he got 29% of the vote in his last statewide race. So you can view it either way.


  14. Crist has no Dem credentials…they are setting him up. Obama is too smart. Just wait!


  15. Alan you are correct. It is good that all this comes out now because Scott will air out all of Crist corruption.


  16. Rough rough · ·

    Blue Dog,

    You should not be blogging on state time.


  17. Bring it Crist! · ·

    Governor suspends Margate commissioner






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    •Margate, FL, USA

    The City Commission will now pick a replacement for McLean, said Mayor Frank Talerico.

    Read the federal indictment of McLean at


  18. Get a clue · ·

    Attacking Crist only helps the Republicans and Rick Scott. If you really support our party you’ll get behind Charlie. If not you might as well be a Republican.




  19. If you dont support Charlie you are a Republican despite the fact Charlie has been a Republican for 15 years. Get a clue. Get him out while you still can otherwise you don’t think the Scott is going to throw everything at him. Look like you are already smoking the pot Crist is trying to buy you off with.

    Most about Charlie is already public but not all of it. Get a clue, the Ds that are pushing Scott and telling Rich and Sink to get out are the ones who are going the wrong route.


  20. I agree with Get a clue…..all the truth about Crist’s corruption and record is only going to help Scott. Why dont you lie like the rest of the crooks?

    I am an Republican and I am not a fan of Scott….but Crist is worse. I will vote and for Scott. No reason to stay home now.


  21. Realist · ·

    Charlie is our best chance to do something you always complain we do not do…WIN!

    We must back Charlie. We must get Rich out of the primary and focus on letting Charlie secure the party support and money now. You know we need to beat Rick Scott.

    Considering how much Charlie helped Obama it is sickening and dispirting the amount of grief he is getting from Democrats. Shows why we are the losercrats.


    1. In 2008, he claimed Sarah Palin was more qualified to be President than Obama. Even Rick Scott didn’t say something so ill advised and blatantly partisan in its pandering.


  22. Concerned Democrat · ·

    Oh my god did you go for the gusto here! Not that I have any issue with this but wow!

    We have a progressive running for Governor, Nan Rich. People need to gravitate to her.


  23. […] the forefront in recent weeks. This website last week looked in-depth at Crist’s  shameful record on guns and previously at his right-wing Supreme Court appointments, while others have brought forward his […]


  24. Florida Democrat · ·

    VOTE for NAN RICH, the ONLY True Blue Democrat RUNNING for Governor 2014! Crist conveniently changed to IND to try to win Senate seat to get to “Washington”. He LOST and got us Marco Rubio! NOW he conveniently changes to DEM when he knows he wants to run for FL Gov again and is so opportunistic as to do it AT the White House kissing up to PBO! Very SLICK politician…knows how to “play the game” BUT his GAME is to be FL Gov again so he can once AGAIN use it a a stepping stone to try AGAIN to get to Washington, DC. NAN RICH ONLY wants to be Governor of Florida and do a great job straightening out our state and taking care of all the people of Florida! She has NO Special Interest $ to pay back with favors to people. She will ONLY owe US, the People of Florida and will fight tooth and nail for us. If you are TRULY a DEM, you will VOTE FOR NAN RICH in the PRIMARY!


  25. To those who keep saying “He’s a Democrat NOW, the important thing is to have a Democrat that can WIN!”, um, he’s a Registered Democrat. Sure. But every single public political decision he has made has been as a Republican. And the vast, overwhelming majority of those decisions have been on party lines. He has no record of public service as a Democrat. Do you really think he’s going to behave politically in the EXACT OPPOSITE WAY that he has behaved since 1992? Do you really believe that he’s pulling a complete U-Turn ideologically after close to 30 years of being involved in politics? He didn’t leave the Republican Party because he felt that the Democratic Party was better. He abandoned the Governor’s office to run for US Senate, and switched his affiliation to NPA when it became clear that he could not defeat Marco Rubio in a Republican primary.


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