Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is holding the Senate accountable for ignoring the pleas of Stoneman Douglas students and passing legislation that arms school staff, fails to ban assault weapons, and does not address the loopholes in Florida’s laws that allowed the mass shooting in Parkland on February 14.
“The Stoneman Douglas students who survived a nightmare are now leading the fight for real change. If the Legislature had the same courage as these young people, they would stand up to the NRA and ban the weapons of war that led to this tragedy,” Graham said. “Instead, the Legislature is pretending to address the problem with token measures and creating new risks by placing more guns in schools.”
“Rick Scott should veto any legislation that arms school staff and fails to ban assault weapons — and he should call the Legislature into a special session until they get the job done,” Graham said.
The Senate’s package raises the age requirement to purchase a gun to 21-years old and adds a three-day waiting period on long gun sales — but these laws only apply to purchases at federally licensed firearms dealers and do not include gun show or internet sales. In Congress, Graham sponsored legislation to close the gun show loophole and require background checks on all gun purchases.
“Nothing in this legislation would stop an 18-year old with mental health issues, or even a criminal background, from purchasing an assault weapon at a gun show or on the internet. Without addressing the loopholes in our background check system, these new requirements would do nothing to prevent future tragedies.” Graham said. “To keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and troubled individuals, we must pass universal background checks in Florida.”
In January of 2016, Graham laid out a plan that she would fight for as governor, including common sense and evidence-based policies to address the gaps in the current law.
“As governor, I would immediately veto any legislation that requires arming school staff because students, parents, and teachers don’t want more guns in our schools,” Graham said. “I would work with the Legislature to pass an assault weapons ban, universal background checks, and an extreme risk protective order provision to empower family members and law enforcement to remove guns from situations where there is overwhelming evidence of risk,” Graham said.
Extreme risk protective order (ERPO) legislation provides a process for law enforcement officials to remove guns from a person when there is evidence that he or she is a danger to themselves or others. The current bill package includes a partial ERPO, but it does not allow for family members to petition the court if they have evidence of extreme risk.
“In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, it is clear that the shooter was a deeply troubled individual who was a risk to himself and the community. We need to make sure law enforcement has all the tools they need to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again,” Graham said. “As the wife of an officer and as a member of Congress who worked with 14 sheriffs, I heard this directly from law enforcement. As governor, I will listen to them and empower them with the resources they need to keep us safe.”