The mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida last year has changed the dynamics of the state’s politics, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Monday.
Following the massacre, Florida’s lawmakers, including Republicans, defied the National Rifle Association and passed a bill that bans anyone under the age of 21 from buying a firearm.
Parkland and the March For Our Lives movement have turned gun politics into one of the state’s most important issues ahead of the midterms, where Democrats hope to keep Bill Nelson's Senate seat and flip some half dozen congressional seats that could determine who controls the House.
Republicans running in competitive races across the state say they are open to a ban on assault weapons, a dramatic change from the past in which gun rights motivated parts of Florida's GOP base.
At least three Republicans easily won their party’s primaries even though they expressed openness to more gun control.
"The threat that the NRA has made for years is that if you oppose us, you will lose," said Democratic strategist Steve Schale, who ran Barack Obama's 2008 Florida campaign.
He added that zero Republican incumbents who signed the gun bill or called for more gun restrictions after Parkland lost their primaries.
"The fact that the NRA wasn't able to make an example of someone stepping out of line, it gives people hope who want to see further gun safety laws passed," Schale said.
A quarter of the 450,000 new voters registered in Florida this year are 24 or younger, the age targeted by gun-control groups.
Axios reported that Parkland students are in the midst of a get-out-the-vote drive that will leverage their influence on social media.
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