HB 627 continues ongoing efforts to curb mass shootings post-Pulse; Parkland
Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) re-introduced legislation for the fourth consecutive session to ban the civilian purchase of military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines in the wake of horrific mass shootings that continue to grip the state and nation. Companion legislation will be filed by Senator Gary Farmer (D-Broward).
The legislation was first introduced by Rep. Smith in 2017, after 49 mostly LGBTQ people of color were killed at the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. Calls for a legislative hearing on the proposal grew stronger immediately after 17 people were murdered in Parkland at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
Even as horrific mass shootings continue to grip the state and the nation, Republican leaders have continually blocked efforts to place the bill on a committee agenda for vote, workshop or debate. Amendments to the MSD HS Public Safety Act introduced by Rep. Smith and others in 2018 with similar restrictions on assault weapons failed on mostly party lines.
Recent polling shows a majority of Floridians continue to support an assault weapons ban.1 Advocates for gun violence prevention have launched a constitutional amendment initiative to put the issue before voters in 2020. As 72% of voters think Florida needs to do more to address gun violence, now is the time to enact this life-saving legislation.
Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith offered the following statement:
“We owe it to the victims and families of Pulse, MSD and of everyday gun violence to keep assault weapons off our streets. As Orlando and Parkland communities know all too well, easy access to weapons of war has destroyed the lives of innocent people and families. Several other states and even entire countries have taken action to ban assault weapons after horrific mass shootings in their communities. Why not Florida? It’s past time to hear the bills.”
Senator Gary Farmer offered the following statement:
“This legislation will save lives; we’ve known this for years. Doing nothing is simply unacceptable anymore. I’m proud to stand with Representative Smith in proposing a solution that will undoubtedly reduce gun violence in Florida, just as similar bills have in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. It’s time for Florida to step up and stop the sale of these dangerous military-style weapons.”
According to a February 20th poll from MSNBC, 67 percent of Americans support an assault weapons ban. A poll from Florida Atlantic University reports that 70 percent of Florida voters favor an assault weapons ban. bawnfl.org/mission.htm
Dr. Danielle Thomas, Legislative Chair of the Florida PTA, offered the following statement:
“Florida PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality – which we fail to do with every child we lose to gun violence, especially to semi-automatic military style weapons. We strongly advocate for this good bill and a ban on all military style semi-automatic weapons.
Angie Gallo, Co-chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence offered this statement:
“The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence applauds Representative Smith and Senator Farmer for continuing to support and sponsor the assault weapons ban bill. These weapons of mass destruction have no place on our streets or in our communities. We have lost too many lives and endured too much pain. It needs to stop.”
Brandon Wolf, survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, and representative of Equality Florida, offered the following statement:
“Assault weapons, like the Sig Sauer MCX used to murder my friends, have become the gold standard for mass shootings – giving dangerous and violent people limitless license for carnage. No more militarizing hatred. No more empty thoughts and hollow prayers. It’s time to end this reign of terror and get weapons meant for the battlefield off our streets.”