Gun violence is a public health crisis. Floridians, like far too many Americans, have had to deal with the scourge of senseless gun violence time and again. We’ve mourned over Pulse, the shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport, and the tragedy in Parkland. Meanwhile, firearms claim victims nearly every day in communities that too often fail to capture headlines. The epidemic of senseless gun violence must come to an end. No single law can ever prevent all these tragedies, but we need a sustained, collaborative effort to seriously reduce gun violence.
We should start by closing all the background check loopholes that allow dangerous people to evade the law and purchase deadly firearms. I was proud to work with Fred Guttenberg to introduce legislation named in honor of his daughter, Jaime, that would close those same loopholes for illegal purchases of ammunition. It requires more than a gun to take an innocent life; it also takes bullets. We need to do everything we can to keep both out of the wrong hands.
We must also push to get weapons of war off our streets. That means banning the sale of assault weapons and firearms with high capacity magazines.
Finally, we need to give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the authority and adequate funding to study the gun violence epidemic as a public health crisis.
Gun tragedies have taken lives on our streets, in our communities, and at our airports, churches, and schools. I have met with many victims’ families and I intend to honor their loved ones with action. I will not be intimidated by the NRA or anyone else who makes the mistake of standing in our way. Protecting the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors is simply too important.
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