By: D.J. Parten
It is no surprise that establishment Republicans despise their conservative colleagues and that legislative leadership loves to punish the more conservative members in their party.
The most recent example of this is in the Florida House of Representatives where Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls is trying to send a message to State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, perhaps the most pro-gun lawmaker in the Sunshine State.
Sabatini is the first lawmaker ever to file a Constitutional Carry bill in Florida. Additionally, Sabatini is the sponsor of the bill to repeal the Emergency Gun Ban that allows local officials to ban guns simply by declaring a state of emergency
In contrast, Sprowls voted for the largest gun control expansion in Florida history that included “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation and a ban on 18, 19, and 20-years-old purchasing long guns.
Because of Sabatini’s outspoken conservatism, Sprowls decided to appoint Sabatini to fewer committees than the rest of his colleagues and refused to give Sabatini a chairmanship or vice chairmanship, effectively limiting the influence Sabatini can have for his district and for true conservatives across Florida.
This is a clear message from Sprowls: Shut up and get in line.
Instead of just accepting his punishment and moving on, Sabatini doubled down on his principles and called on Sprowls to rectify the situation.
“I refuse to be silenced or to submit; denying me committees or legislative titles/duties is a small price to pay for the freedom to stand up against the growing despotism in our country.” Sabatini said on Facebook.
Unsurprisingly, Sprowls has been silent on the matter so far.
In South Carolina, State Representative Jonathon Hill, the most pro-gun lawmaker in the country, is no stranger to this kind of intimidation from the Republican establishment.
After Hill forced his colleagues to go on the record on Constitutional Carry, many of them were exposed for their anti-gun stances and some were even replaced in the subsequent elections.
This action made Jonathon Hill a champion for gun owners but drew the ire of powerful members of the Republican establishment.
Hill is so despised by the Republican establishment in Columbia that they kicked him out of the caucus and bankrolled his primary challenger in the 2020 primary election.
Despite such overwhelming opposition by the establishment, Hill defeated his opponent by nearly 25 points!
Clearly, grassroots conservatives support elected officials who have a bold and unapologetic stance in support of gun rights.
No matter what establishment lawmakers say or do, true conservatives must hold to their principles and fight for the folks who elected them.
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Senior Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.
Photo from Facebook.