March 7, 2018 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, released the following statement reacting to the gun reform bill passed by the Florida House today.
Peter Ambler, Giffords Executive Director:
“Parents, teachers, and students oppose the insane idea that putting guns in our schools can keep our kids safe. Even Governor Scott, a man who’s done the NRA’s bidding for his entire tenure as governor, opposes guns in schools. So why would such dangerous proposal end up in a package that’s meant to protect kids from gun violence? The answer is obvious: it’s the gun lobby. The gun lobby might be bankrupt when it comes to solutions for gun safety, but they still need a talking point for their talking heads.
“We strongly support elements of this legislation that will save lives, like a new extreme risk protection order, keeping guns out of the hands of teenagers, enacting a waiting period, and banning bump stocks. The Florida legislature must know this: We’ll be back. We’ll keep on fighting for proven policies to prevent gun violence.”
This bill contains several important policies that could help prevent the next mass shooting in Florida, including:
Extreme Risk Protection Order: This will enable law enforcement to petition a court for a temporary order prohibiting a person from purchasing or possessing firearms. These orders are sought when a person demonstrates behaviors that indicate pose a significant danger to themselves or others. ERPO laws are exactly the type of policy that could help people struggling in crisis, including the shooter in Parkland, Florida, as the shooter’s classmates, teachers, family members, and law enforcement officers appear to have been aware that he was exhibiting dangerous behaviors.
Raising the Minimum Age for sales of firearms to 21: It should not be easier to buy an assault weapon than a handgun. The minimum age of 21 for dealers to sell handguns and state waiting period laws should apply to assault weapons as well.
Banning Bump Stocks: Bump stocks and other similar devices are marketed to shooters seeking to convert their weapons to simulate the rapid continuous fire of an automatic firearm while using a semi-automatic gun. The bill passed today would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and possession of bump stocks that allow shooters to a rate far beyond the standard rate for a semi-automatic gun.
Strengthening the waiting period for most gun safety measures: This bill will strengthen the waiting period by closing the “Charleston loophole,” also known as the default proceed flaw, by stating that the waiting period is either 3 days, or the time it takes to complete the background check. This will give authorities the time they need to complete a background check before handing over a gun to someone who might not have been able to pass one.