The mass shootings in Gilroy California, El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio remind me of the mood of Florida in the days after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas. There was a widely held view that we needed reform, not politics. As it turned out, that’s exactly what we got. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Act brought Florida comprehensive reform on mental health, gun control, and school security. Within three weeks meetings were held with victims' families, experts, and concerned citizens. Once completed, reforms were decisively passed in Florida. During the process, I brought you research about what Floridians were supportive of passing prior to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas. Each of the reforms that most Floridians were interested in passing happened to some degree in the Stoneman Douglas Safety Act. Earlier this year,Reuters conducted nationwide researchon gun control reforms. Like Florida, most Americans would like to see reforms happen independently of a specific catalyst like this past weekend’s shootings. Reuters reported that 69% of Americans think we should strengthen existing gun laws.
There were seven other reforms that came in with over great support. For example, 87% of Americans want a reform that bans the mentally ill from purchasing/owning a firearm. 84% want to expand background checks and 80% think there should be a national database. Among others were arming guards at schools, banning high capacity ammo clips, banning “assault weapons”, and banning online ammo sales. That’s a lot of reform with widespread support. And again, this was sampled earlier this year.
Without a specific shooting providing an emotional catalyst. Much of what's being advocated is law in Florida as a result of the Stoneman Douglas Safety Act. We’ve seen President Trump ban bump stocks through executive action. That’s the only reform that’s taken place in recent years. It’s clear that most people want additional reforms and that will require an act of Congress and the President. Seems to me our federal government could take a page out of Florida’s playbook. It just so happens that our governor at the time of the reform, Rick Scott, is a senator who might be able to provide leadership on this issue if there’s the will for reform in Congress that there is across the country.
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