SWFL activists want to know if local politicians support Senate’s gun safety reform

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Lawmakers are working on getting gun safety reform through the Senate. Over the weekend, Senators from both sides of the aisle reached an agreement.

The law hasn’t been written yet, but it is filibuster-proof because 10 Republicans have already agreed in initial support of the framework.

The framework includes money to help states create, implement, and improve red flag laws.

Under red flag laws, courts can issue orders for the seizure of guns from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

The framework also includes funding for more access to mental health programs, an enhanced review process for gun buyers under 21, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” and increased school safety measures and training for students and teachers.

Even though the measure has the votes to get through the Senate, that is not good enough for some local activists.

Robynne King and Kathleen Muniz with Moms Demand Action want to know whether Senator Marco Rubio will join the list of Republicans who support the Senate’s bipartisan gun reform framework.

“People want to be safe. They want to be able to go to the grocery store or the movies without fearing for their lives so we’re here to celebrate that small step forward and encourage Rubio to get it into legislation,” said King, the membership lead for the Southwest Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for gun sense in America.

So far, neither Senator Rubio nor Senator Rick Scott has said whether they’ll support the deal despite the fact the framework doesn’t compare to Florida law.

“If you look at it, it doesn’t go as far as what Florida did in the aftermath of Parkland,” said FGCU Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett.

In 2018 then-governor Rick Scott signed several gun reform measures. Florida now has a red flag law, requires buyers of guns to be 21, increased funding for mental health programs and school security, and created the school guardian program.

The gun reform framework in the Senate stops short of raising the minimum age to buy a gun and encourages states to create and beef up red flag laws by offering funding.

Lawmakers also want to revise the definition of a federally licensed firearm dealer, so more gun sellers have to register and conduct background checks.

“I think some of the things that will aid Florida will be in the financial contributions of federal funding for the red flag law,” said Peter Bergerson, a professor of political science and public administration at FGCU. “It’s not going to impact Florida in necessarily a significant way.”

Still, King and Muniz with Moms Demand Action want our lawmakers to vote in favor of whatever bill lawmakers write up.

“It’s not everything, but it is something, so it is a beginning,” said Muniz, the community violence interruption program lead for the Southwest Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for gun sense in America.

WINK News reached out to both Senator Rubio and Senator Scott.

A spokesperson with Senator Scott’s office said Scott would review the proposal.

Senator Rubio’s office said he was not available but pointed us to a tweet where he said he is pleased with his previously proposed legislation being used in the proposed framework.

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