Galvano Asks For Review Of Public Safety Laws Following Mass Shootings In El Paso, Dayton

Aug 5, 2019

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is ordering a review of mass shootings and gun violence. This, following two mass shootings in two days in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left at least 30 people dead.

Three men sit at a wooden desk and speak into microphones
Credit Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Galvano wants to focus on what he says are factors behind gun violence, such as mental illness and white nationalism. 

"I know you share my view that senseless acts of violence like we saw across the country over the weekend must stop, and that begins with condemning the hate that perpetuates these evil attacks," Galvano said in a memo to senators sent Monday. 

He wants the Senate to take the issue up when lawmakers return to Tallahassee for committee meetings next month.  

Galvano notes the Senate made strides in the last two years to improve public safety but says there is a lot of work to do. Following last year's deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the state made significant changes to its gun laws. It approved a "Red Flag" law that allows police or family members to petition a court to take away guns from people who may present a danger to themselves or others. The state also expanded background checks, banned a device known as a bump stock and raised the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.

Infrastructure and Security Committee Chairman Tom Lee will lead the review.

Galvano's memorandum came hours after President Donald Trump addressed the shootings in El Paso and Dayton during a televised address to the nation.  

"These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America," the President said. "Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul."

The suspect in the El Paso shooting posted a rant against immigrants in Texas ahead of the killing. 

Trump ascribes the shootings to mental illness and violent video games and voiced support for more mental health resources and tools, including social media monitoring and red flag laws, to help identify potential signs of shooters.  

Florida recently established a database that includes social media monitoring as well as other information to track children that may be "at risk" of committing school shootings. 

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” he said, stopping short of asking for tighter gun restrictions. 

Late Sunday the Hillsboro, Fla. sheriffs office arrested a 31-year-old man who threatened to shoot up the Walmart Supercenter in Gibsonton. About 1,000 people inside were evacuated.

The man is charged with filing a false report of using a firearm in a threatening manner.