Members of the Florida House Democratic caucus today announce their call for a special session to address the epidemic of gun violence in our state. By Florida law, if letters requesting a special session are sent to the Secretary of State by 20% of members of the legislature, then a poll of the entire body is conducted. Three-fifths of both chambers must vote yes in the poll for a special session to be called in this manner. As of early this afternoon, more than 20% of members have sent letters.
The majority of Floridians want to see common-sense reforms to our state’s gun laws, but year after year the legislature refuses to take the action necessary to save lives. Members of the House Democratic caucus consistently file bills to improve our gun laws, but they rarely receive a committee hearing, quietly failing without ever garnering the attention and discussion this issue deserves.
Representative Javier Fernández (D- Coral Gables) issued the following statement, “The people of Florida deserve better. They deserve to live in cities free from the plague of daily gun violence. They deserve to attend gatherings, schools, and houses of worship without a looming fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. And they deserve a legislature who will do all it can to protect them. It’s too late for those impacted by gun violence yesterday, but if we act quickly we can stem this tide and save lives.”
The requested special session would be for the purpose of considering proposals to:
- Require background checks for the transfer of all firearms;
- Prohibit the sale, transfer or possession of large capacity magazines;
- Reduce the duration of licenses required to carry concealed firearms;
- Revise requirements for the safe storage of weapons in the home;
- Expand the number of individuals that can petition a court for a risk-protection order where a gun owner is believed to be a risk to themselves or others; and
- Establish an Urban Core Gun Violence Task Force focused on reducing day-to-day gun violence.