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Floridians Call for Gun Safety Action In Wake of Racist Mass Shooting in Jacksonville

Miami, FL — Today, GIFFORDS Florida, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, joins Floridians across the state in calls for action against gun violence. In the wake of the hate-fueled mass shooting at a Dollar General in Jacksonville that killed three Black people, Floridians across the state are calling for change.

GIFFORDS Florida State Director Samantha Barrios:

“I am heartbroken for the three families who lost irreplaceable loved ones this weekend in an act of violent hate. I’m heartbroken, and also furious that once again, we’re calling on legislators to listen to us and take action against gun violence. Governor Ron DeSantis has only made our state more dangerous by weakening our gun laws, and he continues to harm our beautifully diverse state by spewing racist rhetoric. He turned his back on Florida, then he has the audacity to claim he stands with the families in Jacksonville. Hate has no place here, and we must work harder than so-called leaders like DeSantis to eradicate racism in our home. GIFFORDS Florida will always fight to disarm hate.”

State Senator Tracie Davis (District 5 – Duval County)

“We knew Florida’s relaxing of gun laws would have dire consequences, and we warned these NRA Republicans. How many innocent people need to die on Florida’s soil before we realize the true problem: access to high-powered, high-fire weapons on our streets. Because of the ease of accessing guns, three people have been executed in a bigoted act of violence. Our community didn’t deserve this trauma and neither will the next innocent person targeted in the future. Real change needs to happen now.”

Patti Brigham: President of Prevent Gun Violence Florida, Orlando

“Racism and hatred have no place in Florida, or anywhere in the US. Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the three innocent people in Jacksonville who were shot for no other reason than that they were Black.

“We call on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state legislature to pass necessary, strong gun reform. Florida’s lawmakers need to stop twisting the history of Black Americans and begin protecting them from these horrific hate crimes.”

Mario E. Decunto: Duval Chapter President – Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, Jacksonville

“Jacksonville is a city of many cultures working in harmony to prosper, making it a friendly and welcoming place for all. This was made even more apparent when Duval County residents voted for a Mayor whose message was based on inclusiveness, equity, and acceptance. It hurt our entire community when Jacksonville suffered the fatal shooting we experienced this week. We hope our community comes together to address the issues lying behind the actions, providing our friends and neighbors the opportunity to heal, and thereby showing Florida and the world that the residents of Duval County reject gun violence and stand united for love and tolerance.”

Romania Dukes: Founder of Mothers Fighting for Justice, Miami

“Folks are scared. Folks are frustrated. As a mother who’s lost a son to senseless gun violence, I’m sick to my stomach and tired of the rhetoric from our state’s leadership that helps fuel and embolden these types of actions. They just throw out red meat to a base because they wanted to gain cheap political points. But it’s really hurting people. At the end of the day, it’s hurting people and families who’re already struggling with loss. There’s so much that can be done, but they refuse to make change.”

MJ Wright: Pulse Nightclub Shooting Survivor, Miami

“I am devastated with the news from Jacksonville. And I am furious. I have every reason to be angry. In fact I need to be angry. It’s righteous anger. Crazed men carry out these horrible acts, but responsibility has to be laid at the door of those who spout hate and refuse to change our gun laws to make us safer. In fact, many have worked to pass laws that put us all in more danger, like doing away with permits to carry guns. These leaders must be held accountable.

“Today, I have spent my morning in prayer asking the Creator to stop the hate and fill their hearts with love, but I’ve also expressed my anger and frustration. God’s judgment will come. But we need to express ours now!”

Colin Hozey: Jacksonville University Student and LGBTQ+ Advocate, Jacksonville

“Upon hearing of the tragic racist shooting here in my home city, my heart breaks for the victims of this tragedy. This horrific event only exacerbates the epidemic of gun violence that has infected our society; we can and must do better. The people of this beautiful state deserve to live free from the existential terror of gun violence, and our leaders have the power to enact the changes we so desperately crave. The communities of Florida must resiliently stand together, united against this wave of bloodshed driven by racial animus. As we cry out for relief from the plague of mass shootings, I can only hope that our leaders will hear and answer. There is no longer a place for ignorance and inaction on the part of our legislators; Florida must cast off the shackles of gun violence and loudly declare that this brutality will no longer be tolerated within our state.”

Obi Umunna, Esq.: Lawyer & GIFFORDS Florida Steering Committee Member, Jacksonville

“Like the rest of my community, I’m saddened by the loss of those three innocent lives, but the other emotion I feel is anger. I’m angry that we treat white supremacy like a simple difference of opinion instead of fuel for domestic terrorism. I am angry that we live in a society that could not prevent this person who obviously should never have had a gun to receive a weapon of war so easily. I’m angry that I can’t even go to a grocery store, mall, school, and even a place of worship without worrying about gun violence.”


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