This week Florida Legislators will begin hearing a package of bills, including SB 7026 and SB 7022 in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. We must raise our voices to let lawmakers know our positions on these bills.
These bills will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee, Monday, Feb. 26th at 2:30pm EST and will likely proceed to the Senate Appropriations Committee to be heard on Tuesday, Feb. 27th at 11am. EST. The House versions will be heard in the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday, Feb. 27th at 9am EST.
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Contact your legislator and let them know that to truly make Florida safer from gun violence, any laws passed must include the following points:
Positions on the issues addressed by these bills:
Our Coalition goals remain front and center
- Assault weapons and large capacity magazines must be banned. A new Quinnipiac poll shows 67% percent of Americans support banning assault weapons. The student response has been passionate, organized, and has included this as their number one priority. We need to listen to our students.
- Background checks must be expanded to close “private seller” loopholes: We support HB 838
- Under NO circumstances should our school teachers be armed with guns on school property.
- We support the Florida PTA’s position of hardening school facilities to create a safer environment for students.
Risk Protection Orders
- We support judicial gun violence restraining orders to remove guns based on requests from family members, relatives, or custodians who believe a person poses a threat to him/herself or others.
Age Limits and Waiting Periods
- Raising the age limit to 21 to buy a rifle does not address the problem of the semiautomatic assault weapons. Numerous mass shooters have been over the age of 21. According to research by the Stanford Geospatial Center and Stanford Libraries and USA TODAY, AR-15 semi-automatic rifles were used in the 14 deadliest mass shootings in the last 35 years and 11 of them involved shooters over the age of 21.
- Establishing a 3-day waiting period to buy a rifle does not address the legality of semiautomatic assault weapons. We shouldn’t be focused on waiting periods. We should be pursuing an outright ban on these weapons and large capacity magazines as the root of the issue. Once we accomplish the ban, waiting periods are immaterial.
- Bump stocks are accessories. We should not be focused on bump stocks, but the guns themselves. We should be pursuing an outright ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines as the root of the issue. Once we accomplish the ban, bump stocks are immaterial.
- Mental health services remain an important necessity. But the number of those with true mental illnesses that commit violent crime is low. In addition, countries worldwide struggle with mental health issues, but the United States is uniquely plagued by a gun violence epidemic. Easy access to firearms and the proliferation of semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines is the underlying problem of gun violence in our country.