Children participate in a March For Our Lives protest in 2018 following the school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty
A week after the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, national and international officials are reflecting on what to do about gun policies, but Florida is still quiet on adding more restrictions.
At the state-level, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has once again called for a special legislative session to pass additional gun ownership regulation legislation, in a Tuesday letter to Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls.
Fried said that the Florida Legislature “must act immediately to prevent another mass shooting from occurring in our state,” meaning the February 14 shooting massacre at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“If the Legislature doesn’t take action now, it will bear responsibility the next time one of these tragedies occurs,” she said in the letter.
For some Floridians, the attack in Texas reignited pain and trauma brought on by the news of the Parkland shooting, where 17 students and staff members were killed by a gunman at the Broward high school.
Fried, who is one of the main Democratic candidates in the 2022 gubernatorial race, suggests implementing two new policies as “a good place to start” in a special session on gun safety — one of which would require background checks on ammunition purchases and another requiring proof of completing a firearms training in order to renew concealed carry licenses.
She added in the letter: “In order to truly be pro-life, the Legislature must enact common-sense gun safety measures. We have a moral obligation to protect the lives of the people of Florida and our precious children by taking serious action to stop gun violence,” she wrote. Fried supports abortion rights.
The Phoenix reached out to the Florida House and Senate for comments from Sprowls and Simpson and is awaiting response.
Fried urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to call for a gun regulation special session last week, too, fresh off of the heartbreaking news from Texas, where an 18-year-old killed 19 elementary students and two teachers, and injuring others, at Robb Elementary School, according to The Texas Tribune.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, one of Fried’s opponents for the Democratic nominee in the primary, has called for a ban on assault weapons as recently as Tuesday morning during a press conference.
Crist’s campaign site offers his ideas on how to curtail gun violence, including reducing gun-related crimes by supporting neighborhoods through “better social services” and funding violence prevention strategies, among other measures.
Meanwhile, Gov. DeSantis, who is a Republican and running for reelection, has previously expressed support for so-called “constitutional carry,” meaning allowing people to carry guns without a concealed weapons permit. He still has not publicly remarked on the shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
But the conversation expands to a national and international perspective too.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona discussed gun violence in schools in a written statement Tuesday.
“As I recently said to members of Congress, I am ashamed that we as a country are becoming desensitized to these horrific tragedies,” Cardona said in the written statement. “As parents, leaders, and educators, protecting our children is more important than anything else. The time for thoughts and prayers alone is over. We need legislative action. We can do better, and we must do better.”
And the American Federation of Teachers, a nationwide teacher union, is launching a campaign for gun reform policies this week, partnering with Parkland-shooting survivor David Hogg, to call on political leaders “to enact commonsense gun legislation,” according to a Tuesday press release.
Even outside of the United States, nations are reflecting on their gun policies.
This week, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced proposals for new gun restrictions for the country, which include a national “freeze” of handgun sales, revoking gun licenses of those involved in domestic violence and requiring that “long-gun magazines to be permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds,” according to a Monday press release.
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