(NationalUSNews.com) — Florida Governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is facing online scrutiny following a heated exchange with a heckler who blames DeSantis for the recent “hate crime” shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. DeSantis responded to the heckler in denial and claimed he wouldn’t allow someone to accuse him of criminal activity.
The Jacksonville shooting occurred on August 26th and resulted in the deaths of three innocent black people. Shortly after the killings, the shooter took his own life.
DeSantis said the shooter was “Baker Acted,” referring to the statute that permits the involuntary detention of people suffering from a mental illness/distress. Despite the shooter’s previous experience with the law, he legally obtained a firearm and perpetrated the tragic shooting that took three lives.
The Jacksonville shooting ignited heavy media attention focused on DeSantis, a key point of criticism from Democratic officials discussing DeSantis’s policies. Many citizens and officials feel DeSantis’s policies enable the shooter’s legal firearm purchase, an accusation DeSantis vehemently denies. The shooting ignited debates about potential gun reform in Florida and might even gain attention during the presidential election moving forward.
Following the announcement of the shooting, police confirmed the shooting was racially motivated. Florida law enforcement identified the shooter and denied any other participants. The shooting marks the latest instance of a widely publicized hate crime and comes during a heated national debate about gun control and the upcoming presidential election. Democrats are already politicizing the shooting and using the tragic event as an example of why conservative gun laws are dangerous for the country.
Despite the controversy surrounding DeSantis’s response to the shooting, he remains one of the most popular candidates in the 2024 presidential election. DeSantis consistently polls within the top three candidates but fails to outperform Donald Trump by a wide margin. The GOP hopeful is currently attempting to secure support from Iowa, as it serves as a vital state in determining the outcome of the presidential primary. DeSantis lacks the widespread support that Trump maintains in Iowa but claims that achieving second place will be a substantial victory for his campaign.
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