Enacting responsible gun laws and defeating those that are a threat to the public remain priories of the LWV of Florida and the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
Over the past several years we have seen the gun lobby and its proponents put forward legislative proposals that would allow guns on our state’s college and university campuses, and the open carry of firearms in public places. Forming strong partnerships with key partners such as the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, the LWVF has been instrumental in defeating these irresponsible proposals.
Approximately 33,000 Americans die each to due to firearm suicides, homicides, and preventable shootings. In 2016, 30,604 people in the U.S. sustained gunshot injuries. The evidence is clear: Gun violence is a public safety issue.
In 2014 the LWV of Orange County held its first Gun Safety Subcommittee meeting. Four months later, after a packed house of attendees at a caucus during our Lobby Days in Tallahassee, we became a statewide Action Team. In addition to Orange County, local Leagues in Seminole County, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward and St. Pete now boast their own Gun Safety Action teams. The groups educate the community through their Speakers Bureaus, hold topical events, and engage with their representatives in the Legislature.
When the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub occurred on June 12, 2016, leaving 49 dead and 53 injured, we knew it was time for an aggressive push for smart gun laws. The LWVF formed the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, a broad-based alliance made of up over 125 state and national partners representing education, minority communities, faith-based organizations, health care and other gun safety groups.
With the strong work of the LWVF and our grassroots coalition, it is only a matter of time before our state enacts smart, responsible gun legislation.