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.