On Thursday afternoon, in front of the Orange County Courthouse in Downtown Orlando, State Senator Linda Stewart and State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith introduced legislation that would ban certain types of Assault Weapons in the state. The push comes after the Pulse nightclub tragedy that took the lives of 49 people and wounded 53 more last June.
“We have a responsibility to act,” said Stewart, who’s District 13 area includes Pulse “If not now when? There is no legitimate reason whatsoever to own these types of weapons; we’re not taking anybody’s guns away and we’re not infringing on anybody’s right to hunt or protect themselves in their home. We need to start getting control of the things we can, and do commonsense things to prevent what happened at Pulse from ever being repeated.”
SB254 and HB 167 would ban “any selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic or burst fire at the option of the user.” It also applies to semiautomatic pistols, shotguns, and rifles as defined within the bill, along with a list of other specified semiautomatic firearms listed by name. The measure would also ban large capacity magazines defined as “any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 7 rounds and any person who lawfully possesses an assault weapon or large capacity ammunition magazine prior to October 1, 2017, would have to apply for “Certificate of Possession”.
The press conference featured survivors from the Pulse shooting, as well as support from the League of Women Voters. Other notable attendees included State Senator Victor Torres, State Representatives Amy Mercado, John Cortes, and Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph.
Smith acknowledged that the bills face tough odds in the Republican controlled legislature but pledged to move forward to honor those who lost their lives last year.
“We have a responsibility to the families of the 49 to demand action after the massacre at Pulse.” he said “For too long, the powerful gun lobby has put a stranglehold on Tallahassee with their extreme agenda. It’s time we take back the conversation with a bold, comprehensive and common sense approach to gun safety. This legislation is just the beginning.”