Lisa McCormick, a progressive New Jersey Democratic activist, has condemned the Florida state Senate for passing a bill that will allow gun owners to carry concealed loaded weapons without a license three days after a deranged shooter killed six people, including three nine-year-old children, at a Nashville school.
The bill now goes for approval to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who has indicated he will sign the measure.
“In a typical year nearly 3000 people are killed by guns in Florida, and more than 5,200 other victims are shot and wounded,” said McCormick. “Gun violence costs Florida $40.3 billion each year, of which $875.9 million is paid by taxpayers, but Republicans are on a mad dash to come up with the weakest gun laws in the country.”
“In the last 72 hours, three people were shot and killed in Florida and four others were injured by firearms,” said McCormick, who predicted that those numbers will steadily rise in the weeks and months ahead. “All the research shows that more firearms mean more shootings, more injuries and more deaths. I can confidently say that by signing this legislation, Governor DeSantis is signing a death warrant for innocent people in Florida.”
Florida law currently allows residents to buy and own a firearm without a permit, but owners must have a concealed weapons permit to carry a loaded gun in public.
Florida already has the 30th highest gun-death rate in the country, with 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people, and critics say this bill will only further jeopardize the safety and lives of Floridians.
Vermont was the only state that allowed individuals to carry a concealed loaded gun without a permit prior to July 1, 2011, when Wyoming allowed residents to do so. Since then, there has been a rush to loosen firearms regulations in dozens of Republican-controlled states.
About half of U.S. states now allow people to carry a gun without a permit, a movement that’s grown popular among conservative Republicans. Recent polling shows that 77 percent of Florida residents oppose the legislation, which will allow people to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public without a permit, criminal history check, or safety training.
Several chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of the Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released statements condemning DeSantis for holding a rally at Georgia’s Outdoor Adventures, the largest gun store in the country, just hours after the Florida legislature passed the reckless legislation.
“Instead of focusing on non-Floridians, Governor DeSantis should consider doing what he was elected to do and work to keep our communities safe, instead of traveling across the country bowing to gun extremists,” said Cate Allen, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action. “The majority of Floridians oppose permitless carry and have felt the weight of living in the Gunshine State, which is probably why the governor knew he shouldn’t flaunt his relationship with the gun industry in our state.”
“The last thing we need in Georgia is for extremist politicians from other states to come here and buddy up with the gun industry,” said Diana Gregory, a volunteer with the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “If Governor DeSantis cared about law and order, he wouldn’t be proud to speak at a gun store which has repeatedly broken federal gun laws.”
“If Governor DeSantis really cared about public safety and protecting law enforcement, he’d be back in Florida fighting to keep guns out of the wrong hands and vetoing the deadly permitless carry legislation sitting on his desk,” said Makiko Felice, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Instead, he is campaigning in Georgia to pacify gun extremists. We shouldn’t have to beg our own Governor to care about the safety of our friends, children, and families.”
Each state determines the requirements and any limitations on the carrying of firearms, but court rulings have undermined such commonsense gun laws as those existing for more than a century in New Jersey, New York and other jurisdictions. Congress has the specific enumerated authority to regulate firearms under Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution.
“Over the last four decades, there have been substantial changes to the ways states regulate civilian firearms—lowering or eliminating standards for carrying concealed weapons—but scientific research has found that such deregulation tends to increase rates of violent crime and death,” said McCormick. “I reject the false choice that you either care about the Second Amendment or you care about kids’ safety, but I also feel the Second Amendment is unnecessary today.”
New research has revealed that road rage shootings are at the highest level since 2018 and that states that allow people to carry weapons without permits have by far the highest rate of road rage shootings with injuries or deaths.
In fact, permitless carry states have nearly triple the rate of road rage shooting victimization than those states with the most protective standards.
Critics of the bill claim that the military-style weapons like the AR-15 assault rifle have no legitimate civilian use, yet about 1 in 20 Americans own one of the popular firearms.
The Florida legislation comes just days after a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, which claimed the lives of three children and three adults.
A Washington Post and Ipsos survey found that AR-15 owners are significantly more likely to be white, male, and between the ages of 40 and 65. They are also more likely to have higher incomes, to have served in the military, to be Republican, and to live in states that former president Donald Trump won in 2020.
The AR-15 is the best-selling rifle in the United States, and almost every major gunmaker now produces its own version of the weapon, which dominates gun dealers’ walls and websites.
Lisa McCormick believes that there are ways to reduce gun violence without infringing on Second Amendment rights. She said, “Too many Americans die in gun violence, and there are things we can do to stop senseless slaughter, like requiring background checks on all firearms sales.”
McCormick, who garnered 159,998 votes statewide against Senator Bob Menendez in the 2018 Democratic primary, became one of the nine New Jersey Democrats to earn the greatest number of primary election votes in the last 25 years. Her anti-establishment message echoes presidential contender Marianne Williamson’s call to “disrupt the system.”