Background on Florida School Shooting


RELATED: Statement from Gabby Giffords about the Flordia School Shooting


Background About Florida Gun Laws

Florida has weak gun laws and has enacted few measures to keep its residents safe from gun violence. In 2016, Florida had the nation’s 26th highest gun death rate. Florida received an F on our 2016 state gun law scorecard and was ranked the 26th worst state for firearm laws. Florida does not require background checks for private gun sales and does not limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time. Florida also doesn’t regulate security at gun stores or require that firearms be securely stored in vehicles, which contributes to a high rate of firearm thefts and stolen guns used in criminal activity. Florida has one of the most extreme preemption laws in the country designed to severely restrict local authority to regulate firearms, and recently amended its “Stand Your Ground” law to make it even more dangerous. Florida does not have a gun violence protective order law which allows families and law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily prohibit an individual’s access to firearms if he or she poses a danger to self or others.

AR 15 large capacity magazines and minimum age

Florida does not ban assault weapons like the AR 15 or large capacity ammunition magazines. Florida also allows a person who is at least 18 to purchase and possess long guns. Note that federal law prohibits a person under the age of 21 from purchasing a handgun from a licensed dealer. Thus, the shooter would have been too young to purchase a handgun from a dealer. In addition, Florida imposes a three-day waiting period on handgun purchases but no waiting period for purchases of long guns. There is no limit federally or in Florida on magazine capacity or the number of magazines (or guns) that can be purchased at one time.

Concealed Carry

Florida has weak concealed carry permitting laws, and flaws in its permitting system have resulted in permits being issued to thousands of people with serious criminal convictions. A bill is pending in Florida to further weaken the concealed carry permitting system:

  • FL S 740 / H 553 would create a “default proceed” for Florida concealed carry permits after 90 days. It would require the Department of Agriculture to issue a permit if it received incomplete criminal history information for an applicant and can’t obtain the criminal history within 90 days.
  • The bill means more people with criminal convictions could be issued licenses to carry concealed guns. Data from the federal background checks system shows that people for whom it’s difficult to get a complete criminal history are more likely to have committed disqualifying crimes.

This change was requested by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam who is running for governor of Florida.

Background on Frequency of School Shootings

Tragically, this is the 18th school shooting just this year. Between 2013 and 2017, an average of more than four school shootings took place each month. Since 2013, there have been at least 290 instances in which a firearm discharged a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds. This constitutes an average of about one shooting in a school per week. These school shootings can be intentional, like the one last month in Kentucky, or accidental, like the one in Los Angeles earlier this month.

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Background About Guns In Schools

Guns have no place in our nation’s schools. That’s why Florida and the vast majority of states — 47 of them in all—prohibit carrying or possessing a firearm on K–12 school property. But despite schools’ best efforts to keep guns off the premises, kids with access to guns sometimes bring them to school, and use them. Between 2013 and 2015, an average of two school shootings took place at K-12 schools each month. Over two-thirds of students who used guns to commit “targeted violence” against their school acquired the gun(s) used in their attacks from their own home or that of a relative. Alarmingly, over 1.69 million children and children under age 18 have access to guns because they live in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms. And one study showed that 73% of children aged nine and under reported knowing the location of their parents’ firearms and 36% admitted that they had handled the weapons, including many whose parents had reported their children did not know the location of their firearm.

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Research, Data & Related Studies

In 2016, Florida had the 26th highest gun death rate rank, with a gun death rate of 12.59 gun deaths per 100,000 persons. In 2016, there were 2,704 gun deaths in Florida

A report published by the US Secret Service and the Dept. of Education found that over two-thirds (68%) of students who used guns to commit “targeted violence” against their school acquired the gun (or guns) used in their attacks from their own home or that of a relative.

Between 2013 and 2017, an average of four school shootings took place each month. Among shootings from 2013 to 2015 in which the age of the shooter was known, 56 percent (39 of 70) were perpetrated by minors.

Since 2013, there have been at least 290 instances in which a firearm discharged a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds. This constitutes an average of about one shooting in a school per week.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, this marks the nation’s 30th mass shooting in 2018 (incidents in which 4 or more people were killed or injured by a shooter). This is the fifth mass shooting in the state of Florida since January 1.

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