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Debate over Florida gun laws reignites after mass shootings in Texas and New York

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
Jae C. Hong/AP
Two family members of one of the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School comfort each other during a prayer vigil in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Tuesday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two adults coupled with the May 14 racially-motivated mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York that killed 13 people has reignited efforts among Florida Democratic lawmakers to push for tougher firearm laws in the sunshine state.

Following the 2018 Parkland mass shooting, the Florida legislature passed a broad safety bill requiring schools to have trained, armed staff or police officers on campus and created a “red flag law,” allowing judges to suspend a person’s access to firearms if they’re deemed a threat to themselves or others. The legislature also imposed a three-day waiting period on gun purchases, passed an expansion of background checks, a ban on bump stocks, and raised the age limit for purchasing rifles from 18 to 21.

Democratic lawmakers are now renewing their push to approve legislation to ban assault weapons and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried is challenging a 2011 state law that preempts local governments from enacting their own gun safety measures. At the same time, Governor Ron DeSantis has vowed that a permitless carry gun law will pass before he leaves office.

At the federal level, a bipartisan bill to require stricter background check rules for gun purchases remains stalled in the U.S. Senate.

While mass shootings tend to grab the bulk of the attention and media headlines, they account for less than 1% of all gun deaths in the U.S. We’ll take a closer look with President of the nonprofit Prevent Gun Violence Florida, Inc., Patricia Brigham and local group leader of the Naples chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Kim Craig.