Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) in Washington on Jan. 17. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

If you have high expectations for Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), you are doomed to disappointment. The senator and former Florida governor has perfected the art of eking out the narrowest of victories thanks to a combination of slimy attacks and his personal fortune. But Scott did beat those low expectations as governor when he signed legislation in 2018 after the Parkland school shooting that tightened Florida’s gun laws. Despite angering the National Rifle Association, which is supposedly a death knell for Republicans, Scott still won that year’s Senate race.

Appearing on the Sunday talk shows a day after another mass shooting left seven dead in Midland and Odessa, Tex., would Scott tout the bill he signed as an example to fellow Republicans that the NRA need not be feared? No. Instead, he was too scared of the NRA to even talk about much of the law that he himself signed.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Scott described the bill to host Chuck Todd this way:

We sat down immediately. Within, like, three days, Chuck, we sat down with law enforcement, mental-health counselors, and educators and said, “What would really work?” And so we passed historic legislation within three weeks. One is a “red flag” law, that says that if you have threatened harm to yourself or somebody else, then through law enforcement and through due process, through the court system all your weapons can be taken away. And then on top of that we said every school in our state’s going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to have more mental-health counselors, and we’re going to set up a process where we can really evaluate problems before they happen.

Scott described “what we did in Florida” in similar terms on CNN’s “State of the Union,” as well as in an August op-ed for The Post: “The steps we took in Florida, in addition to committing $400 million to increasing school safety, included a ‘red flag’ provision.”

You might be thinking at this point, “That’s doesn’t sound like all that much.” But Scott himself left out many of the key changes the law made. It also banned bump stocks (which increase the rate of fire for semiautomatic weapons), implemented a three-day waiting period for firearm sales and raised the minimum age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21. The latter change was significant enough that the NRA is suing over it, yet somehow it managed to slip Scott’s memory.

To be clear, there’s mixed evidence at best that any parts of the bill will reduce mass shootings, though the waiting period and age limits will likely decrease suicides. Then again, we don’t have that much robust data on what does stop mass shootings, because Congress has refused for years to fund research into effective gun control. It won’t shock you that Scott has not come out in support of House Democrats’ bill to fix that. But even accounting for low expectations, it’s remarkably telling that Scott, even after winning the GOP nomination easily, not to mention the general election, remains so scared of the NRA and its allies that he’s self-censoring the bills he’s signed.

Christine Emba

counterpointWhy do Americans want guns? It comes down to one word.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Scott claimed to CNN’s Dana Bash. Sorry, only one party behaves like this when it comes to gun control. As long as the GOP remains deathly (and wrongly) afraid of the gun lobby, the body count will rise higher and higher.

Read more:

Max Boot: On gun violence, Republicans are a profile in cowardice

The Post’s View: No, Mr. Trump. Guns are the reason for mass shootings.

Megan McArdle: The NRA and the media need to reevaluate guns and mass shootings

Paul Waldman: On guns, America is ‘exceptional’

Dana Milbank: Republicans’ thoughts and prayers have become a cruel joke