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Minority Office — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 2, 2017

CONTACT: Matthew Alford, 850.487.5013


Sen. Stewart Reacts to Las Vegas Tragedy, Calls for Hearings on Gun Safety Bill

One Year After Pulse Nightclub Massacre, Orlando Democrat Decries Lack of Action

Orlando —

Sadly, Americans woke up this morning to news of another tragic mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas.   

Just one year ago, it was the people in my district, and the people of Florida, who bore witness to the Pulse nightclub massacre, and what was then the worst mass shooting in American history. Last night’s horror set a new standard, testament to the sheer evil unleashed by one man armed with multiple high caliber automatic weapons, intent on provoking death and injury to so many.

I have no doubt that the hand-wringing will quickly follow. As will the many offers of thoughts and prayers. But what we will not see, and what we will still await, is any kind of meaningful action from our national and state leaders to stem this bloodshed once and for all. Undoubtedly, some will criticize speaking of curbing gun violence so quickly after these killings. To them I say, if not now, when? How high does the body count have to climb before we finally act?

Last year I filed legislation for Gun Safety, and again this year I refiled this legislation, SB196, for the 2018 session.  The bill in 2017 did not get one committee hearing.  I am pressuring our State Senate leadership to allow this year’s bill to have a hearing, or at the very least, a workshop - any avenue to bring this up for public discussion in a formal public setting.

The senseless killings of Americans cannot be the norm for our Country – our Founding Fathers could never have conceived of today’s modern assault weapons.   Nor should the easy sale of guns designed for maximum carnage. Military-style weapons belong on the battlefield, not in general use. Americans should be free to attend large events and not be intimidated by the possibility of being mowed down by a man with a grudge.

“I am calling on our leaders to have an honest discussion about the availability of these weapons, the mental health issues that drive these senseless acts of violence, and, where appropriate, and make changes to our policy and State law which will give us a fighting chance for being safe in our communities. Hold hearings on this bill. Let the NRA speak. But let the other voices – the mothers, the fathers, the sons and daughters, the multitude of Floridians who are fed up with the carnage – have their say, too.