PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – A major republican donor in Florida is threatening to cut off funding to politicians who oppose a ban on assault weapons.
Al Hoffman Jr. has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for republicans.
But in the wake of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, Hoffman sent an e-mail to other GOP donors, urging them to support a ban on assault weapons.
When asked about his initial reaction to finding out about another school shooting, Hoffman said, “I was incredulous, I couldn’t believe it, I felt I had my heart in my hands.”
That feeling led the 83-year-old republican donor to stop contributing to his own party’s candidates, unless they supported change in the gun laws.
“I will not write a check for anyone who does not propose a ban on assault style weapons,” Hoffman said.
He was also asked why this particular shooting was the straw that broke the camel’s back, instead of say, Sandy Hook.
“Well I have been after so many politicians to adopt legislation and always the answer is ‘well we’re working on it, we’re working on it’ and nothing ever changes,” Hoffman explained.
The original federal assault weapons ban was passed in September 1994 but expired after 10 years.
Between May 2003 and June 2008, there were at least seventeen attempts to renew or replace the ban but none made it to a vote.
And an effort to pass a permanent ban after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre failed to get senate approval.
Last Friday, Hoffman wrote an email to half a dozen donors asking them to follow his lead.
“I would support a fiscally conservative person who supports the ban and at this moment in time I really don’t care whether it’s a republican or democrat,” he said.
When asked if he believes something will change as a result of the Parkland shooting, Hoffman said, “Don’t know. I hope so. It’s just a start right now. But I think we need to build the movement…then and time and the lord willing, we’ll be able to accomplish some things.”