The mass shooting last week at a Florida high school sent the nation reeling and looking for solutions to preventing a similar tragedy from happening in the future. Many are asking legislators to create or modify current laws that would further restrict access to guns, mainly assault weapons.
While the majority who demand these changes usually come from the left side of the aisle, one prominent Republican Party supporter is joining the fight against assault weapons and using the influence of his wealth to do it. Florida resident and real estate developer Al Hoffman Jr. is threatening to stop donating to Republican candidates who do not support legislation that bans the sale of military-style firearms to civilians.
“For how many years now have we been doing this — having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings — and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” asked Hoffman, as cited by the New York Times. “It’s the end of the road for me.”
Hoffman explained his position in an email sent to several ranking Republican Party members, including Jeb Bush and U.S. Representative Brian Mast. In the message, Hoffman wrote he would discontinue all campaign contributions to any Florida Republican who does not back new gun laws aimed at prohibiting assault weapons. He specifically called out Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, who is considering a Senate run later this year.
“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons. Enough is enough!”
In addition to the recent slayings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Hoffman mentioned the previous mass shootings in Las Vegas and Orlando. More shootings like these are bound to happen if the government does not get involved, he contends. He firmly believes other individuals are out there right now quietly planning to commit another massacre.
In the past, Hoffman has donated millions to Republican candidates and causes. In 2016, he gave $1 million to Jeb Bush’s presidential bid through a political action committee known as Right to Rise.
Despite the school shooting, most Republicans aren’t necessarily concerned with changing gun laws or enacting a ban on assault weapons. Most party member leaders are instead looking at the mental health issues that drive the killers’ motives.
A report by CNBC reminded that President Bill Clinton signed a previous federal law banning these types of firearms in 1994. However, the legislation had a 10-year expiration and was not renewed under the Bush administration.
Hoffman has reached out to other top GOP donors, like Bush family supporter Mel Sembler, asking them to stop their contributions as well. While the influential Republican patron seems adamant a weapons ban is essential to prevent future atrocities, the email did not explicitly define what he considers an assault weapon.