With recent calls for removals and/or suspensions from office, today Broward County lawmakers ask for patience and a thorough examination of the facts and circumstances before anyone, at any level of government, is publicly scorned or accused of dereliction of duty.
We have heard cries for the removal of the head of the FBI, the head of DCF, the Governor and even the Sheriff of Broward County before most of the facts and circumstances surrounding the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are even known. Given the understandably heightened emotions surrounding this tragedy, we understand that many in the political process are looking for solutions or someone to blame. But it is important to recognize that all of us, regardless of political party, share an obligation to get this right and learn what happened first so we can take whatever steps are necessary to ensure something like this never happens again.
What concerns us is that there are some who call for removals or suspensions simply to divert the focus of the efforts to protect our students away from the root common denominator of all mass shooting incidents – the use of military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines to murder large numbers of people. Finally addressing mental health funding and examining school security are obvious solutions, but lost in the discussion is meaningful gun safety reform. Raising the age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 to 21 is a no-brainer fix of an obvious flaw in current law; but we need to do more.
In Newtown, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Parkland, with assailants 20, 64, 29 and 19 years-old, in those with and without signs of mental illness, in instances of advance warning or none at all – the one single factor each and every one of these killers shared, in these cases and too many others, is the legal possession of an assault weapon. It was this weapon of war that murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook, 58 concert goers in Las Vegas, 49 individuals at the Pulse Nightclub, and 17 students and teachers at Stoneman Douglas High School. These weapons go far beyond any legitimate sporting purpose and the need for self-defense. We must include in the debate limits or the elimination of these weapons going forward.
Broward County Delegation Chair, State Senator Gary Farmer
Broward County Delegation Vice-Chair, State Representative Richard Stark
Senate Democratic Leader, State Senator Oscar Braynon
State Senator Kevin Rader
State Senator Perry Thurston
State Representative Bobby DuBose
State Representative Patricia H. Williams
State Representative Barrington Russell
State Representative Joseph Geller
State Representative Shevrin Jones