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Three South Florida Democrats bash Gov. Scott over public safety task force

On the same day that the New York Times published an op-ed bashing Gov. Rick Scott over the gun-friendly slant of his public safety task force, three South Florida representatives called on him to overhaul the 19-member group.

Reps. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami and Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens, said they want Scott to appoint a more diverse task force to look into Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law.

At a press conference at Church of the Open Door UCC in a predominantly black section of Miami, the three Democrats criticized Scott for his task force appointees, and called out task force chair Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll for mischaracterizing the selection process last week.

Last week, the Herald/Times reported that three of the four lawmakers on the task force voted for Stand Your Ground in 2005, and a fourth joined the Legislature in 2010. The first bill he passed was a gun-friendly measure banning doctors from asking patients about gun ownership.

“The lawmakers that are on the task force happen to be pro-gun proponents,” said Bullard, who sent a letter  to the governor asking him to overhaul the task force. “Probably the most egregious is the inclusion of the actual sponsor of the bill.”

Bullard is asking for Rep Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who sponsored Stand Your Ground, to be removed from the task force.

Watson, who represents the South Florida district where Trayvon Martin lived, said she tried to no avail to be appointed to the task force. She said she was disappointed that South Florida lawmakers were left out.

“To this date, I have not received any information or any communication back from the Governor or the Lt. Governor,” she said. “I think it’s a crime, I think it’s a shame and I think it’s despicable that we have no (lawmakers) from this area on this task force.”

Watson responded to Carroll’s assertion that there was an “application” for the task force by stating that she never heard of an application. Other lawmakers have echoed that sentiment, calling into question how the actual selection took place.

In addition to being black Democrats from South Florida, Bullard, Stafford and Watson have another thing in common: They’ve all sponsored or voted for gun control legislation.

The lawmakers who were appointed to the task force have something in common: Support for gun rights legislation lobbied for by the National Rifle Association. Carroll is reportedly a lifetime member of the NRA.