On the first weekend of their general election campaigns, a coalition of Democratic candidates running for state and federal office huddled on a blistering street corner in Miami with their sights set on a familiar target: firearms.
A spate of school shootings across the nation in recent months, and the activism that emerged from South Florida after 17 students and educators were killed at a Parkland high school on Valentine’s Day, reignited the issue of guns in America as Democrats push to flip Tallahassee and Washington.
And on Saturday, with one of the largest gun shows looming behind them, the Democrats stood with a small group of protesters and campaign staff on the corner of Southwest 107th Avenue and Coral Way, near the entrance to the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair.
It was an attempt, they said, to pressure the county fairgrounds into divesting from Florida Gun Shows, a statewide operation that has held its weapons expos on the site for more than three decades, according to its owner.
But the candidates used the gun-show rally as an opportunity to launch into their platforms against gun violence, which include restricting the sale of semi-automatic long guns.
“I find it extremely ironic that the county fair, where we bring children to the fair, is right now hosting a gun show,” said Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat running against incumbent Carlos Curbelo in Florida’s 26th Congressional District. “If the Republicans in Congress like Curbelo are not willing to take a stance, to have the political will and courage to do the right thing to keep our community safe, then we need to change Congress, and that’s why I’m here today.”
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