ICYMI: Parkland Parents Release Policy Framework, Demand Immediate Action to Keep Kids Safe from Gun Violence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 02, 2018
Shelbie Seys, Parkland Parent and Organizer
[email protected] // 561-706-0086
Parkland Parents Release Policy Framework, Demand Immediate Action to Keep Kids Safe from Gun Violence
Parkland, FL— Today, a group of parents from Parkland, Florida demanded the legislature pass sensible gun reforms that are supported by the vast majority of Floridians and intended to better protect children and families from gun violence.
“Schools are for learning, not fear. No child or teacher should ever be scared to spend their day in a classroom. No parent should ever fear sending their child off to school. The pain our community is experiencing right now is unbearable – and we’re determined to prevent the tragedy we experienced from happening again to other families,” said Shelbie Seys, Parkland mom of three, and a lead organizer of Kids First, Politics Second.
“The strategy of introducing this Marshal Program, a policy rejected by the vast majority of Floridians, was a cynical attempt to put this reckless plan in a bill with sensible gun reform to put legislators in an untenable position of either voting for a bill that puts guns in the classroom or voting against a bill supported by the vast majority of Floridians,” said John Willis, Parkland dad, and former city commissioner.
“Neither the Governor nor Senator Rubio support a plan to arm our teachers with guns and the legislature must remove this reckless plan and pass sensible gun reform. Adding provisions to appease the gun industry is reprehensible and will result in more preventable deaths and injuries.”
American children are 17 times more likely to die from firearms than their peers in other high-income countries. Florida’s gun laws rank among the weakest in the nation and do little to protect children and families from gun violence. To protect our young people and make schools safe, at a minimum, with only a week left, the Florida legislature must adopt and the Governor must sign into law legislation with the following policy framework:
We Oppose Arming Teachers
We oppose the reckless plans to arm educators. This dangerous proposal to arm educators has been condemned as extremely reckless by teachers, police, veterans, and school security experts. Instead of introducing new dangers and liability into the classroom, Florida must enact strong gun policies to help ensure schools don’t experience shootings.
We Support the Following Policies
(1) Strong & Effective “Extreme Risk Protection Order Law”
Law enforcement officers visited the home of the Parkland shooter 39 times, yet the police lacked legal authority to bar him from obtaining firearms. An “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) law is necessary to ensure that law enforcement is able to prevent future shootings by removing guns from dangerous individuals. Any ERPOlaw must:
Be obtainable against people who exhibit signs that they may be violent or suicidal, where sufficient evidence of a safety threat exists—even if the person does not meet existing criteria for an involuntary mental evaluation;
Authorize law enforcement and family members, or at a minimum law enforcement officers, to petition a court for a year-long ERPO that can be renewed without limitation if the person remains dangerous; and
Provide for a shorter ex parte ERPO that can be issued before a hearing is held on the 1-year ERPO.
(2) Enforceable Minimum Age of 21 for Gun Purchases
It should not be easier for young people to buy an AR-15 than it is to buy alcohol. Florida must impose a minimum age of 21 for all firearm purchases. But the minimum age must be enforceable, which means private sellers as well as licensed dealers must be prohibited from selling guns to minors. Otherwise, private sellers and gun show vendors—who already may decline to check ID or conduct a background check—could freely sell firearms to minors without consequence.
(3) Increased Financial Support for Mental Health and School Security Infrastructure
The Governor and the vast majority Floridians support dollars to improve mental health interventions. Additionally, schools need additional funding for risk assessment and infrastructure improvements to protect students and educators.
(4) Waiting Period for All Gun Purchases that Fixes the “Charleston Loophole”
Florida’s 3-day waiting period should apply to dealer transactions of all firearms, with a longer waiting period in cases where the background check takes longer. Nobody should be allowed to buy a gun from a licensed dealer unless cleared by a background check. The legislature must take this opportunity to close the “Charleston loophole.”
(5) Ban Bump Stocks
At a minimum, the state must make it illegal to purchase or transfer “bump stocks” that enable shooters to emulate the speed of machine guns. Florida should consider prohibiting possession or requiring registration of existing bump stocks.
The above represents the minimum the Legislature should do. There are other important policies that we will continue to fight for if they are not included.
Universal Background Checks, Restrictions on Assault Weapons and Magazine Capacity
We are also demanding action from the Florida Legislature to require universal background checks for all public and private firearm sales and transfers, restrictions on assault weapons sale, transfer and possession and restrictions on magazine capacity. These sensible policies are overwhelmingly supported by Floridians. There is time to include these proposals in their legislative response. If the legislature fails to address these proposals timely, we are calling for a special session to pass these sensible policies.
The mission Kids First, Politics Second is to provide sustained support for the efforts of the students, teachers, families and community members determined to make the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the last school massacre. Learn more at kidsfirstpoliticssecond.org.