In the wake of Parkland: What you can do now

From Pam Goodman, president of the Florida League of Women Voters:

I’ll be brief. Please, make three calls today: one to your state Representative, one to your state Senator, and one to Governor Scott. Tell them ONE thing.

Listen to the students of Parkland. They are asking for one thing: a ban on assault weapons in Florida. Period.

HB 219/SB 196. Agenda these bills. Hear them, and pass them.

Call as constituents with the power you have at election time. Your vote.

Both Democrat and Republican legislators are now all over the place on what bills are the best to pass. “Mine! No…it’s mine!”

Let’s clear it up for them, otherwise the definition of insanity will continue — doing the same thing and expecting different results: We will end up doing nothing and getting the same result. More mass murders in Florida with weapons of mass destruction.

I listened to those students on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. Clearly. They are begging us as adults to make this happen. And we can.

Get elected egos out of the way. Thank them for helping to LEAD this student movement and not get in the way. Tell them to do the right thing for our future and, more importantly, our children.

Gun-sense rally draws thousands for emotional testimony

What a powerful event! The League of Women Voters was a key sponsor of the rally for sensible gun laws Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, which attracted thousands. A highlight was the eloquence of students from Stoneman Douglas High School, who spoke. We came away convinced there is hope. We will fix this. These kids will make it happen.

gunrally1A key strategy is for Florida Legislature to #hearthebills. 

We need to make sure the leaders in Legislature hear from us, not just the NRA.

 The Florida Legislature is in session and there are bills pending to ban assault weapons like the one used and to eliminate loopholes in gun background checks.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Call Greg Steube (R-Sarasota), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at (941) 342-9162. Tell the staff member who answers that you want SB 196: “Gun Safety” to be placed on agenda for the committee’s next scheduled committee hearing Feb. 20. This bill bans assault weapons and high-capacity magazines like those used in the Parkland tragedy.

2. Call Rep. Ross Spano (R-Dover), chair of criminal justice subcommittee, at (850) 717-5059. Tell his staff member that Spano needs give a fair hearing to HB 219, “Assault Weapons and Large-Capacity Magazines” (the companion to SB 196).

As our hearts break: Time to ban assault weapons in Florida.

As Floridians continue to grapple with the massacres at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, our state is mourning yet another mass shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. At least 17 people have died, while many others have been injured. Our thoughts are with the Parkland community and those families forever impacted by today’s unspeakable tragedy.

The shooter, now in custody, was reportedly a former student who apparently chose an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle to use as his weapon. These types of weapons have been used in mass shootings again and again, including Aurora, Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut; San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; Sutherland Springs, Texas; and Las Vegas, Nevada. Right now, the Florida Legislature has before it legislation to ban military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines but has failed to act.

This shooting is further proof that semiautomatic weapons do not belong in the hands of civilians. They are weapons of mass destruction. The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and the League of Women Voters of Florida call upon our Legislature currently in Session to hear and pass the ban on assault weapons — HB 219 and SB 196.

Our hearts break for the young lives that were ripped away in a senseless and all-too-common act of brutality. The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is committed to fighting for smart, responsible gun legislation. The federal government will not change these laws; the state of Florida can and should protect its citizens, and most importantly its children.

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