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Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott spoke with Fox News Digital about his handling of the response to the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida when he served as governor and explained the advice he has for fellow Republican Gov. Greg Abbott regarding his response to the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Scott told Fox News Digital that very shortly after the Parkland shooting that left 17 people dead, the second mass shooting during his tenure after the Pulse nightclub attack, he immediately met with a range of experts.
“By Monday we had three teams of people meeting in Tallahassee,” Scott said. “One team came up and they were just going to talk about the mental health aspect. Another was educators, another was law enforcement, and they all came back with their ideas.”
Scott also met with the families of the victims of the shootings, including Andrew Pollack and Ryan Petty who both lost children, and stressed the importance of shooting responses being a “team effort.”
Roughly three weeks later, Scott signed legislation that he says consisted of a collection of ideas from the whole community.
Additionally, Scott helped lead an effort to put together and appoint individuals to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission that ultimately provided many recommendations aimed at preventing other shootings going forward.
“I’m a business guy and in business what you try and do is say let me solve the problem,” Scott explained. “So what we did with this commission was we put together this group of people that were actually very focused on real solutions.“
Scott says the commission, made up of experts from several different areas, “did a great job of putting together a presentation of exactly what happened with the shooter and what happened with law enforcement so everyone can look at this and say this is what happened and if you do these things you can dramatically reduce the odds of this happening.”
“You never can prevent some crazy person from doing something,” Scott added. “But if you do mental health assessments and drills, you do all these things, you have red flag laws, you have to be 21 to buy a gun, you put them all together and you dramatically reduce the odds.”
Scott explained that he has seen “a lot of improvement” as a result of the legislation he signed and the commission he helped lead after Parkland but stressed that local school districts ultimately hold a lot of the power when it comes to making changes because “that’s where the money goes.”
“You can pass a law to require people to do drills but you can’t make them do it,” Scott said. “You can pass a law to say they have to have law enforcement there every hour. Doesn’t mean they do it because somebody has to enforce it. You can pass a law that says you have to do mental health assessments, but ultimately it’s got to be done by people locally.”
Scott continued, “Every parent has to be involved in their school and say are you doing the things to make sure my child comes home tonight.”
Pollack, who spoke with Fox News Digital earlier this week, agreed with Scott’s emphasis on local school districts being held accountable by parents to implement necessary changes.
“It boils down to the districts in the whole country, who’s elected into that district locally,” Pollack said. “All you hear about in Texas is they’re talking about the day, that day, the failure of the response. They need to look into the failures of the shooter and what happened prior to make changes.”
Scott also said that he has spoken to Gov. Abbott, as well as others in Texas who have asked about his experience after Parkland, and that he stressed the importance of talking to as many people as possible to see how the situation is “perceived” from their eyes.
“On the red flag, as an example, I said this is how we did it, you can’t do it if you don’t have due process because I’m not going to ever be part of taking guns away from law abiding citizens but if you’re going to harm yourself or someone else, through a court process I believe in doing it,” Scott explained.
Democrats across the country have been promoting comprehensive gun control, including a ban on assault weapons, which Scott told Fox News Digital is not the right focus.
“Why don’t we go look and solve the problem at hand,” Scott said. “All Democrats want to do is take away guns. What I want to do is make schools safe and so I’m going to focus on the problem at hand. We’ve got to get to the point in this country, which we can, probably not perfectly, but we’ve got to get to a point where people feel comfortable when their kids go to school that they’re going to come back safe.”