U.S. Senate hopeful Marco Rubio and four other Republican hopefuls stumped at Central Florida’s largest gun show Saturday, courting a powerful force in Florida politics: gun owners.

Rubio, a Miami native, made his rounds at the Central Florida Fairgrounds to meet gun enthusiasts and suppliers while displaying his support for the Second Amendment — the one protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Rubio received his concealed-weapons license last summer after announcing his Senate candidacy.

“It’s an important constitutional right,” Rubio said at the Great Southern Classic Gun and Knife Show. “It separates us from the rest of the world.”

But Rubio wasn’t the only Republican contender at the event.

Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is running for governor, spent most of the morning at the show shaking hands with conservatives.

Organizers expected to draw 8,000 visitors to the show, which ends today.

Agriculture Commissioner candidate Adam Putnam, Attorney General candidate Pam Bondi and Senate President Jeff Atwater, who is running for chief financial officer, also made appearances.

Bondi said her fiancée collects guns, including some from World War II. The Hillsborough prosecutor said she’s had to carry weapons in the past after people threatened her. Atwater whipped out his permit at a concealed-weapons carrying course, while Putnam talked about going to many gun shows and hunting as a child.

“Without the Second Amendment, the other rights are words on paper,” Putnam told the Orlando Sentinel.

McCollum doesn’t have a concealed weapons license but noted he’s a quail hunter and owned a shotgun before it was stolen “a while ago.” But he affirmed he was a defender of the Second Amendment.

Source: Eloísa Ruano González for the Orland Sentinel.

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