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Giffords Florida Bus Tour Helped Build Momentum for Gun Safety

Former Congresswomen Gabby Giffords and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell met with elected officials and voters throughout Florida

Miami, FL Over the past week, Giffords Florida conducted a bus tour throughout the Sunshine State with stops in Miami, St. Petersburg, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale, Coral Springs, and Orlando. Throughout the tour, Giffords Florida held events featuring gun safety champions including Chief Val Demings and Congressman Charlie Crist.

During the tour Giffords also released new statewide polling that showed Florida voters, especially among the state’s Hispanic communities, overwhelmingly support commonsense gun safety measures like universal background checks. Additionally, ahead of Hispanic Heritage Month, Giffords Law Center released a memorandum on how the Latino and Hispanic communities are disproportionately affected by gun violence. The report found that the firearm homicide rate for Hispanics is twice the rate of non-Hispanic white firearm homicides.

Giffords Senior Advisor, former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell:

“This week we proved that the Sunshine State is a bright purple state and that Floridians are ready to elect gun safety champions to office from Miami to Tampa. In cities big and small, we saw that voters of every background are sick and tired of their families being put at risk on a daily basis because of the inaction of career politicians and corrupt officials like Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Ron DeSantis. No parent should have to worry that they will send their child to school in the morning and never have them return. No Floridian should have to worry about being shot simply because they chose to see a movie or dance at a nightclub. It is unconscionable, and we must do more to keep our communities safe. By electing leaders like Chief Val Demings and Congressman Charlie Crist, we can send a message to the gun lobby and their allies – no más. Throughout the state, we heard a call for change and we are ready to take this fight to the ballot box in November and create un futuro seguro for all.”

During the tour, Giffords Florida partnered with the following gun safety champions on events: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Congressman Ted Deutch, Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor Karla Hernandez, State Senator and Democratic Nominee for Congress in FL-27 Annette Taddeo, State Senator Shevrin Jones, State Senator Victor Torres, State Senator Janet Cruz, State Representative Carlos Guillermo-Smith, State Representative Andrew Learned, State Representative Dan Daley, State Representative Christine Hunschofsky, Miami-Dade County Mayor Danilela Levine-Cava, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, Democratic Nominee for Congress in FL-10 Maxwell Frost, Broward County Commissioner and Democratic Nominee for Congress in FL-23 Jared Moskowitz, Janelle Perez, AJ D’Amico, Adam Benna, Raquel Pacheco, Johanna Lopez, and gun violence survivors: Parkland fathers and activists Manny Oliver and Fred Guttenburg, Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, and the founder of Mothers Fighting for Justice Romania Dukes.

On September 8, the bus tour kicked off in Miami [PHOTOS HERE] with Chief Val Demings, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, State Senator Annette Taddeo, Fred Guttenberg and Meme Ferré. Afterwards, Chief Demings and former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell visited Domino Park in Little Havana, where Chief Demings won her first domino game. [PHOTOS HERE] They concluded the day with a press conference and meet and greet in Miami Gardens with Senator Shevrin Jones and Rep.-Elect Ashley Gantt. [PHOTOS HERE]

On September 9, Giffords Florida started the day in St. Petersburg with Congresswoman Kathy Castor [PHOTOS HERE]. Later, the bus traveled to Tampa, where Congresswoman Castor and Former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell were joined by State Senator Janet Cruz, State Representative Andrew Learned, and Mayor Jane Castor. There, they met with local community members like Johnny Johnson, who lost his son to gun violence. [PHOTOS HERE]

On Saturday, September 10, the tour began with a meet and greet in West Palm Beach with Congresswoman Lois Frankel and local gun violence prevention activists [PHOTOS HERE]. A canvass launch was held shortly thereafter in Hollywood, Florida, [PHOTOS HERE] with the Florida Democratic Party who were knocking doors in support of Chief Demings and Congressman Charlie Crist. Next, the bus tour headed back to Miami for the office opening of congressional candidate State Senator Annette Taddeo. [PHOTOS HERE]

On Sunday, September 11, Giffords Florida kicked off the day with a canvass kick-off at David T. Kennedy Park with state senate candidate Janelle Perez [PHOTOS HERE]. Later that afternoon, community members were invited to a block party hosted in partnership with the Blue Wave Hispanic Coalition in Miami featuring former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell. [PHOTOS HERE]. Later that day, a screening of Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down was held in Ft. Lauderdale with Congressman Ted Deutch, State Representative Christine Hunschofsky, Mayor Dean Trantalis, and Activist and Parkland Father Fred Guttenberg. [PHOTOS HERE]

On Monday, August 12, the bus headed to Coral Springs for a press conference with Giffords Gun Owners for Safety, Congressman Ted Deutch, Democratic Nominee for Congress Jared Moskowitz, State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, State Rep. Dan Daley, and Parkland father and Change the Ref Founder Manny Oliver [PHOTOS HERE]. The bus then stopped at Circle of Brotherhood to meet with survivors and community leaders who are working directly in their communities to end gun violence [PHOTOS HERE]. Next, the bus stopped by the famous Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana with Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Congressman Crist, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava, and Former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell [PHOTOS HERE].

Following coffee at Versailles, Former Congresswoman Giffords and Congressman Crist hosted a meet and greet at Florida International University where they were joined by Former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz [PHOTOS HERE]. During the meet and greet, the speaking panel highlighted a memo released by Giffords Law Center on gun violence in Latino and Hispanic communities. Former Congresswoman Giffords ended the day at Goulds Park with another meet and greet held with the Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor Karla Hernandez [PHOTOS HERE].

On the final day of the bus tour—September 13—Former Congresswoman Giffords and former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell visited the Pulse Nightclub Memorial in Orlando [PHOTOS HERE]. They were joined by Pulse survivor and activist Brandon Wolf, State Representative Carlos Guillermo-Smith, and Democratic Nominee for Congress in FL-10 Maxwell Frost. Next, the group headed to University of Central Florida where they spoke with local students about the importance of electing gun safety champions [PHOTOS HERE]. Finally, the tour concluded with a community block party hosted in partnership with Alianza for Progress at Osceola County School for the Arts. There, Former Congresswoman Giffords, Former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell, State Senator Victor Torres and Frost met with local community members [PHOTOS HERE].


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