A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Republican Steven Linne, a former member of the Navy who is pursuing a seat in the Florida House of Representatives to represent Florida’s 6th Congressional District.
Unorthodixically, Linne isn’t running against a member of the Democratic Party. Rather, he is campaigning against incumbent Jay Trumbull, a Republican, who, Linne argues, betrayed his constituency by endorsing the unconstitutional red flag law.
The heavily contested statute — which has been passed in 15 states — permits authorities to temporarily forbid an individual from purchasing or possessing a firearm if a judge deems the individual to be a danger to themselves and/or others. Several members of the GOP, including Trumbull, Senator Lindsey Graham, and even the Trump Administration, have publicly voiced their support in favor of the provision, whereas others, such as Linne, believe the law unconstitutionally overrules an individual’s fundamental right to due process.
During our interview, I questioned Linne on his thoughts of the red flag law, his candidacy as a whole, and other elements of his platform. Here’s our exchange:
TYP: Unlike your opponent, you believe that the red flag law is unconstitutional, and should therefore be repealed in the state of Florida. Yet several prominent Republicans, including even the Trump Administration, have endorsed the bill. Do you see this as a sign of the Republican Party slowly abandoning its original principles, or is this just standard political maneuvering?
LINNE: Today, I find that politicians on both sides have abandoned their principles. Right now, Republicans are pointing the finger at the socialist party known as the Democrat Party, and rightfully so, but Republicans are using that to hide the fact that they don’t have the interests of the American people at heart. I am adamantly opposed to anything that violates our Constitution and will call anyone out (including the POTUS) if they choose to abridge our rights, such as the “Red Flag” law which allows the state to confiscate your firearms without you ever committing a crime. This is a complete violation of our 4th Amendment right of due process and is yet another example of how some Republicans are trying to take away our rights.
TYP: Given that the horrendous Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting occurred in Florida a little more than a year ago, are there any gun control measures you would consider voting for if elected to the Florida House of Representatives?
LINNE: I think the passage of SB7030 (which allows teachers to be armed upon the completion of a training course) is a great step in the right direction. I would like education on firearms and firearm safety in school. It would be highly beneficial, especially since it is a right to keep and bear arms. We must always remember that laws do not prevent criminals from committing crime. Laws only restrict the law-abiding.
TYP: Prior to getting involved in politics, you served in the Navy for six years. How did your service influence you to focus on the preservation of constitutional principles?
LINNE: While aboard the USS Louisville SSN-724, I began getting deeply involved in political discussion and theory. I read many books on philosophy and politics, including Immanuel Kant, Ben Shapiro, and Barry Goldwater (who was a big inspiration). My Navy brethren helped inspire great discussions and debates which helped shape my views on politics and further piqued my interest. What finally made me decide to run was watching politicians in D.C. who have abandoned their oath to uphold the Constitution. Then I saw a local politician in our Florida House who was touting himself as a “Strong Conservative” vote for gun confiscation and raise the age to buy rifles from 18 to 21. I take great issue with this and see it as an infringement on everyone in Florida. If I don’t stand up, who will?
TYP: In another interview you participated in, you stated that you were once banned on the social media giant Facebook for posting FBI crime statistics. Given the current situation regarding social media censorship, could you tell me more about that?
LINNE: I’ve been banned several times on social media, along with many people that I know. There is a consistent hushing of conservatives, and it’s obvious. Social media are supposed to be platforms for free speech. Instead, they have become publishers of curtailed speech and censor what they don’t agree with. The specific situation I mentioned was a debate on Facebook about crime rates and gun rights. You will notice that the inner cities (which are run predominately by Democrats) have the most gun control and the highest crime rates. Some people have been completely “unpersoned” online, which has affected some people who use their internet as their livelihood… this is not okay.
TYP: On your official campaign website, one aspect of your platform is “educational reform.” Given the fact that many students — including myself — experience a prevalent left-leaning bias in educational institutions, what are your thoughts on educational bias, and do you think there are any means to resolve it?
LINNE: This is a huge issue. When I went to high school, we read books in history class written by known Marxist Howard Zinn, who made it his life’s mission to change American history and paint the white man as evil. He got his wish, and now half of all millennials are socialist and hate their heritage. We need comprehensive reform of the entire curriculum. There needs to be more emphasis on life skills such as: how to write a resume, how to prepare for a job interview, or even how to balance a checkbook. [We need to teach] a real, unbiased history of this country and push trade school as much as we push college.
TYP: A lot of younger individuals visit The Young Pundit. Do you have any advice for those who want to be more informed on the founding principles of America, or may even want to be involved in politics themselves?
LINNE: Read and gain knowledge from everything you can. Learn about the real history of the United States, and if you want to run for office, DO IT! I learned the basics from other people who have ran for office, including Jay Townsend. If you make the decision to run or just to get involved in politics, feel free to reach out to me. We are the people who have to stand up and really make a difference, and let’s do it together!
TYP: Do you see yourself running for federal office in the future, or would you rather stay focused on resolving the issues impacting the state of Florida?
LINNE: I am focused on Florida for now. But, if I am successful in my mission, I would love to bring that success to D.C.
The Young Pundit would like to thank Mr. Linne for taking the time to participate in an interview. If you are interested in reading his campaign platform, you can view it here, and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Daniel Schmidt is a 16-year-old political commentator and opinion writer. In his freshman year of high school, he founded The Young Pundit, a hard-hitting news commentary outlet featuring young, incisive, and unbought conservative voices. To read more about Daniel, click here.