Understand the Issues
While acknowledging the Second Amendment rights of all citizens, gun violence remains 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. In 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 38,000 people were killed by a gun, up from a 15 year average of 33,500.
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 14 Feb 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 over 20 fact sheets, linked from the pages below, on issues 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. Learn the facts you need to know & VOTE! Click here to review Nov. 2018 candidate positions & voting records on gun safety issues. Info on candidates for FL statewide offices, U.S. House & Senate (Pinellas Co.) and FL House & Senate (Pinellas Co.) are included.
2. Contact your state legislators and U.S. congressional representatives.
a. Review tips on how to talk effectively with your legislator.
b. Find contact info for your federal and state representatives:
- visit http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx
- OR text 507-609-3322 and send your zip code as the message
3. Get involved with our Gun Safety Action Team.
Contact Sharon Winters to get on the email distribution list. Monthly meetings are at 7pm, the 4th Monday of each month at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N, St. Petersburg (Wesley Room).
4. Attend local events.
Click here to view past events and learn about what’s coming up!
“The State of Gun Violence in the U.S.,” 7-minute video by Joss Fong, Vox, 21 Feb 2016.