TAMPA, FL — Democrats in the Florida legislature are reviving calls for tougher gun laws after the shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
Florida’s attempt to end school shootings came in 2018, when a gunman killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Driven by student protests, lawmakers have banned measures allowing school professionals to volunteer as armed personnel “bump stocks” and make a “red flag” law that allows police to seize weapons from people perceived as a threat to themselves or others.
Rep. House Democratic leader Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, noted that dozens of other ideas are being blocked by GOP lawmakers, even with public support.
“I’m talking about bills like universal background checks, safe storage laws, ID checking on ammunition purchases, comprehensive mental health programs,” Driskell outlined. “We could do all these things and not touch a single legal firearm from a responsible gun owner.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis recently pledged his support for a change in state law to allow residents to carry concealed weapons without getting a permit.
Florida’s Republican legislative leaders recognized the Texas shooting by offering prayers and a moment of silence.
Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, Speaker of the House, spoke about the shootings.
“Our hearts are with these communities as they continue to suffer. We know all too well what it looks like for a community to suffer the way they suffer.”
Following the Parkland shooting, lawmakers also set aside about $97 million in recurring funding for school workers and established the Office of Safe Schools in the Department of Education.
Democrats, however, believe there is an ongoing need for tougher gun laws. They mention the number of times Florida’s? “red flag” weapon seizure has been used. According to The Associated Press, it was used more than 3,500 times as early as 2020, a number Democrats say has since risen to nearly 6,000.