Safer Neighborhoods, Safer Schools, Safer Florida
After the tragedy in Parkland, students bravely pushed for legislative action to end gun violence. The actions and advocacy of those students led to major bipartisan improvements to gun safety in Florida. Raising the age to buy a gun, creating a waiting period for dealer purchases, and a red flag law that helps keep guns out of the hands of those who represent an extreme risk of violence, were all steps taken after Parkland.
These actions were significant, but a lot of important work remains. Gun violence continues to threaten our schools, churches, synagogues, and communities. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted. It’s clear we have a lot more to do to protect Floridians.
From the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Floridians have had enough. There have been more than 100 mass shootings in Florida in the past four years. Majority-Black areas of Charlie’s hometown of St. Petersburg are suffering from a rash of gun violence. His friend, Chief Anthony Holloway, said it best: “The more these guns are on the street, the more harm they can do.”
We owe it to our communities, the memories of those we’ve lost and those left behind, to learn from these tragedies and continue to improve our gun safety laws. Reasonable steps to prevent gun violence include extending background checks, preventing domestic abusers from access to firearms, limiting high capacity magazines and assault weapons, and funding locally driven violence prevention strategies.
Thoughts are kind, and prayers are touching sentiments, but it’s time to honor victims and survivors of gun violence with action — which is exactly what our campaign’s “Safer Florida for All” plan will do.
ASSAULT WEAPONS REDUCTION
Banning The Sale Of Assault Weapons — Assault weapons are a semi-automatic firearm, based on high-powered military designs, designed to kill people quickly and efficiently. We’ve seen shooters use these battlefield weapons to murder hundreds in schools, theaters, concerts, churchs, and city schools. We must do more to protect Floridians from these often lethal weapons and pass common sense reform.
ENFORCE GUN LAWS
Background Checks — From Pulse to Parkland to Pensacola, our state has endured too many mass shootings caused by people who should not have been able to buy a gun in the first place. Right now federal law lets dangerous people, who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns, have easy access to guns from private parties without a background check. As governor, Charlie will work to close these dangerous loopholes and require universal background checks for gun sales.
Crackdown on Ghost Guns — Florida has no laws concerning untraceable or undetectable firearms. Known as ghost guns they are used in crimes throughout the country. We should work to ban sales of partially finished receivers without a serial number, require serialization of those that are already in the community, and establish penalties for 3D-printed weapons.
Crackdown On Gun Trafficking — As governor, Charlie will work to end gun trafficking by cracking down on straw purchases, corrupt gun dealers, gun thefts, and bulk gun purchases. Handguns bought in bulk purchase are dramatically, 64%, more likely to be used in a crime than a handgun bought in an individual purchase. Limiting buyers to one handgun purchase per month is a reasonable, straightforward, proven way to reduce gun trafficking and violence.
Report Lost or Stolen Firearms — Florida law does not require gun owners to report theft or loss of their firearm. Stolen guns are often sold on the black market where they help fuel crime across the country. Reporting lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement would help reduce gun trafficking and crime. Reporting laws also help prevent prohibited persons — like career criminals, stalkers, and domestic abusers — from getting a gun. These laws also protect lawful and responsible gun owners from false allegations if a gun stolen from them is later found at the scene of a crime.
Locally Driven “Focused Deterrence” — If we want to end violence, we must instill hope and grow opportunity. Charlie will invest the state’s time and money in a comprehensive approach to reduce gun-related crime by improving neighborhoods through better social services, expanded affordable housing, better schools, more economic opportunities, and funding locally driven violence prevention strategies.
Violence begets violence, creating a killing chain that continues without community intervention. As governor, Charlie will work with community leaders like local law enforcement, civic leaders, clergy, and social workers to implement a program of “focused deterrence.” Incredibly successful in cities throughout the country this model could save tens of thousands of lives in Florida. Charlie would work with civic leaders to make sure they have state-backed support with local solutions.
This simple three-step model of focused deterrence has created major drops in gun-related crime and death in cities throughout the country. Tracking crime, involving the community, and following up with outreach programs is one of the best locally focused solutions to reduce gun violence.
- Gather and Evaluate: The first step of focused deterrence is gathering respected civic leaders like clergy, social workers, and law enforcement officers into a working partnership. This local partnership then begins the process of examining violent incidents and trends to figure out who is most likely to shoot or be shot.
- Communicate the Message: These folks are invited to a community meeting with the working members of the partnership and others like faith leaders, victims of gun violence, former perpetrators who have moved on from their old life, and parents of gun violence victims to communicate a clear and strong message — the shooting must stop. Law enforcement officers then convey a clear and strong message that if the community’s plea is ignored they will act on the community’s wishes and swift action will be taken against any future perpetrators of violence. Meeting attendees receive the message that the community cares about them and wants to see them healthy and understand that, at the request of the community, any future violence will bring strong and swift action by law enforcement. At the end of the community meeting people are connected with social workers that can help steer folks in the direction of resources like tutoring, mental health treatment, transportation assistance, and housing support. This creates a forceful “focused deterrence” effect that has been proven to rapidly reduce local gun violence.
- Follow Through and Repeat: The next time a violent incident occurs law enforcement follow through on their commitment to take swift action. Other community meetings are held until the message is adequately distributed. Progress is tracked and measured.
Strengthen Red Flag Laws — After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida passed a red flag law. This law creates a process for civil courts, after petitioning from law enforcement, to issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order that temporarily suspends firearm access if the civil court determines there is ample evidence that a person is at extreme risk of significant violence in the immediate future. Law enforcement officers and agencies can file a petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order when a person “poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by having a firearm or any ammunition in his or her custody or control or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or any ammunition.”
In countless instances friends or family noticed warning signs that those closest to them were at extreme risk of harming themselves or others. Right now in Florida only law enforcement can petition for an extreme risk protection order. As governor, we would work toward allowing family and household members, as those that know them best and see the earliest signs, to also petition the courts. This simple step would save lives. We would also work for funding statewide officer training in use of these red flag laws instead of placing that burden on local departments as it is now.
Strengthen firearm safe storage law — Kids throughout the country are killed by mishandled firearms every year. Children shot accidentally — almost always by other children — is all the more crushing because they’re often preventable. Currently, Florida law calls for the proper and safe storage of a loaded gun if the owner could reasonably assume a child could have access. While this law is a step in the right direction, as governor, Charlie will work to pass additional child access prevention laws — like storing ammunition and firearms separately and requiring safe storage of an unloaded weapon — to stop these devastating and accidental deaths. Keeping firearms away from children is a reasonable step that would dramatically reduce death and injury that every responsible gun owner is already doing.
Deny Guns To Domestic Abusers — Every fourteen hours a woman is shot and killed by her partner. An abusive partner’s access to a gun can mean the difference between life and death. A woman is five times more likely to be murdered if an abusive partner has access to a gun, nearly five million women report a partner has threatened them with a firearm, and another million report having been shot. We must put a stop to this.
As governor, Charlie will work to limit stalkers and abusers access to firearms. Federal law prevents convicted domestic abusers from firearm access but only applies to current or former spouses, if the couple is living or lived together, or if they share a child together. As governor, Charlie will work to broaden firearm prohibition to those convicted of misdemeanor stalking crimes or convicted of domestic violence of someone they aren’t married to. We can save lives and stop guns from being used to intimidate, coerce, and abuse.
Let Cities Make Decisions About What’s Best For Them — We should repeal Tallahassee’s Community Safety Pre-Emption that takes control away from communities that know their own neighborhoods best. What works best in Liberty County may not work best in Broward. We should let people have local control, not put all the power in Tallahassee, and let them make the decisions that are best for them, their families and neighborhoods.
Lengthen Waiting Period — Lengthening the waiting period from three to five days would help decrease impulsive violence and suicide. It would also allow law enforcement a longer time to complete background checks.
SUPPORT SURVIVORS AND FAMILIES
Establish The Mass Shooting Emergency Response Fund — Floridians join together to lift up survivors and family members of victims, Our state should too. Establishing a mass shooting emergency response fund could assist with hospital bills and funerals, and ongoing mental health treatment. Survivors need to focus on healing — not worry about GoFundMe.
Bring Caseworkers To Help Survivors Access Services — Survivors should have easy access to services, like victim’s compensation, healthcare, and disability. Too often, law enforcement has to shoulder the burden of helping survivors and families navigate services they may be eligible for. In order to better care for survivors, the State of Florida should surge knowledgeable caseworkers to the community following a mass shooting.
Establish An Office of Gun Violence Prevention — As governor, Charlie will work to create an Office of Gun Violence Prevention and appoint a Director to be a tireless advocate for making Florida a safer place, while protecting Floridians’ 2nd Amendment rights.