Rep. Brian Mast (R), the one-time darling of the conservative Republican grassroots in south Florida, is now being called a “traitor” and “liberal” for supporting gun control measures.
When then-candidate Brian Mast ran for congress in Florida’s 18th congressional district in 2016, the wounded combat veteran and married father of three’s (now four) story of survival after losing his legs and a digit in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, all-but solidified his general election victory.
Mast said that he would “not run on his legs” to win his race, and he didn’t because his story and his effectively won over the hearts of thousands of Americans who wanted to vote for an individual who was not afraid to put “skin in the game” and was conservatively sound on all the pressing issues.
When Islamic jihadists conducted attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California in 2015, Rep. Mast called out then-President Barack Obama for refusing to name the assailants as Muslim, and for calling the U.S. Congress “to pass anti-gun legislation.”
“President Obama, access to firearms in the United States is not the cause of any attack, and calling on Congress to pass anti-gun legislation banning "assault weapons" will only serve to weaken the defenses of American families,” stated Mast in a campaign press release
Brian Mast was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2016 by championing conservative issues, including opposing any gun control, or firearm prohibition legislation.
But Mast compromised his pro-gun bona fides and support against gun bans that “weaken the defenses of American families” on February 14, 2018.
Shortly after the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Mast joined the gun control lobby to call for a ban on “assault weapons” like the AR-15, and openly stated that he would “absolutely supporting raising” the legal age to buy a firearm from 18 years-old to 21-years-old.
When Mast penned his now-famous New York Times Op-Ed calling for a ban on “assault weapons” or AR-15-style rifles, Republicans were nothing less than stunned.
“I know that my community, our schools and public gathering places are not made safer by any person having access to the best killing tool the Army could put in my hands,” said Mast in the op-ed “I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend.”
Mast also cited the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was “unimpeachable,” stating that “it guarantees the right of citizens to defend themselves. I accept, however, that it does not guarantee that every civilian can bear any and all arms.”
Influential and well-respected 2nd Amendment activists like Larry Snowden, a former supporter of Mast, began calling Mast a “traitor.”
Other Palm Beach County activists like Marianne Moran, have openly called for Mast to resign from congress.
“When you take away a free man's right to any firearm - you are conceding that the 2nd Amendment is not unalienable – you are conceding that the government can take that right away – which is a fundamental misunderstanding of the bedrock of our liberty and starts us on the path towards tyranny. If the government won’t trust me with an AR-15, I don’t trust them with one either,” noted Moran on her Facebook page.
James Burge, a Tea Party activists posted that a “visibly angry” Mast “lambasted” a local Tea Party group for questioning his gun ban.
Mast, a self-proclaimed NRA member, received an AQ rating from the NRA-PVF during the 2016 general election for is unabated support of their guiding principles, including opposition to gun control and “Semi-Auto Ban.”
Since taking up his position in support of background checks and a ban on assault weapons, Mast received a “?” by the NRA during the 2018 mid-term election cycle.
According to the NRA, receiving a “?” rating is "indication of indifference, if not outright hostility, to gun owners' and sportsmen's rights."
During the 2018 mid-term election cycle, Mast entertained a primary challenged by two pro-gun, pro-2nd Amendment candidates, crushing them on election night when he garnered 78% of the vote to their combined 22%.
Both men ran to the right of Mast on gun policy, but failed to garner the support needed, or raise the necessary dollars to make their respective campaigns viable.
Another point to make is that while pro-gun activists oppose banning weapons of all kinds, no one is calling for the repeal of the the existing National Firearms Act, which originated in 1934, and outlaws "machine guns" and shotguns and rifles with barrels of 18 inches in length.