Understand Key Gun Safety Issues
Gun violence has become a persistent and disturbing public safety issue. Its impact is most keenly felt by minority communities but has touched a broad cross-section of our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 39,773 people were killed by a gun in 2017, up from a 15-year average of 33,500. More people died from firearm injuries in the U.S. in 2017 than in any other year since at least 1968 (when electronic records were first collected). About 60% of these deaths were suicides while about 37% were homicides.
In 2018, the Florida Legislature considered laws to permit open carry, campus carry and elimination of gun-free zones, as well as expanded background checks and a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. With pressure from the public after the February 14 Parkland shooting, legislation was passed raising the minimum age to purchase all guns, increasing the waiting period for permit issuance, banning bump stocks, and expansion of law enforcement powers to seize firearms in cases where the owner poses a threat to themselves or others. At the federal level, the administration supports federally mandated concealed carry reciprocity. Passed by the U.S. House but not yet taken up by the Senate, this “national reciprocity act,” would take from the states their right to design concealed carry laws.
LWVSPA’s Gun Safety Action Team has a commitment to evidence-based research and has developed an education campaign to provide you with the facts you need to know. We’ve developed more than 25 fact sheets on gun safety issues, linked from the pages below, that inform our work with the Legislature and in the community. Our work is based on timely, authoritative research and reflects the non-partisan position of the Florida and U.S. League of Women Voters, as well as the FL Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
1. Contact your state legislators and U.S. congressional representatives.
a. Review tips on how to advocate and work effectively with your legislator.
b. Find contact info for your federal and state representatives:
- visit MyFloridaHouse.gov
- OR text 507-609-3322 and send your zip code as the message
c. Florida legislative updates:
Firearm-related legislation introduced in the 2019 FL Legislative session is being tracked and updated bi-weekly until end of session in May. Click here to view LWV-FL’s 2019 FL legislative priorities, including gun safety. (We’ve also posted details of final action on all gun-related bills introduced during the 2017 FL Legislative Session, and for the 2018 FL Legislative Session.)
2. Get involved with our Gun Safety Action Team.
Contact Sharon Winters to get on the email distribution list. Monthly meetings are at 7 pm, the 4th Monday of each month at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N, St. Petersburg (Wesley Room).
3. Attend local events.
View past and upcoming gun safety events and learn about what’s coming up!
Watch “The State of Gun Violence in the U.S.,” a seven-minute video by Joss Fong, Vox, 21 Feb 2016.