Andrew Gillum called for "common sense gun reform" and deflected questions about fundraising with Broward County's embattled sheriff at a campaign stop on Friday in Plantation.
The Democratic nominee for governor received an endorsement from the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America after fundraising with Broward commissioners and county sheriff Scott Israel earlier in the morning.
Israel has faced criticism for his department's response to the Parkland school shooting. When asked about accepting the sheriff's support, Gillum said "it's unnecessary to pin individuals, families or law enforcement against each other.
"I'm happy to accept support of individuals who mean our communities good and mean them well," he said, adding that he would rather focus on trying to increase safety and prevent shootings.
Standing outside his campaign office alongside about 10 women wearing red "Moms Demand Action" shirts, Gillum called himself a champion of stricter gun regulations and noted his history of standing up to gun lobbyists as mayor of Tallahassee.
He also attacked Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis for supporting increased gun freedoms. DeSantis favors allowing people with concealed carry permits to openly carry firearms and opposed a Florida bill passed in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Gillum listed ways to further regulate guns, such as strengthening background checks and banning high capacity assault weapons.
"If you want to shoot a gun that can fire off sixty bullets in sixty seconds, than you ought to join the military," he said.
Members of Moms Demand Action commended Gillum for his commitment to gun reform.
Ann Marie Hobson's daughter was shot in a drive-by shooting in 2012 and survived. Since then, the elder Hobson has been fighting for stronger gun laws.
"He will be the man that will be able to help us with this mission," she said.
Gillum's stop in South Florida also included a campaign event in Miami to discuss healthcare as well as the fundraiser with Israel.
Andrew Pollack, who supports DeSantis and whose daughter Meadow died in the Parkland shooting, has blamed Israel for her death. He recently issued a statement through the Republican party saying it's "disgraceful" that Gillum would campaign with the sheriff.
Israel did not respond to a request for comment from the Miami Herald and declined an interview with a Sun Sentinel reporter outside the fundraiser Friday morning.
When asked about Pollack's claims, Gillum refused to push back on the father.
"You have family members who are still very much trying to understand, and are grieving the loss of their children," he said. "They ought to be given space to do that outside of a political show."