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Hoping To Counter GOP Gun Bills, Dems Join With Coalition To Promote Gun Safety Bills

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Sen. Gary Farmer's twitter
Sen. Gary Farmer is joined by other Democratic lawmakers and gun control advocates at the Capitol Tuesday.

Following last year’s mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub and this year’s at the Fort Lauderdale airport, some Republican lawmakers are showing even more support for open carry-related bills. But, a gun coalition as well as some Democratic lawmakers are countering those pro-gun bills with measures of their own.

The recent gun-related tragedies in Central and South Florida have spurred Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith along with Senators Linda Stewart and Gary Farmer to file bills as a result of what’s occurred in their districts. Farmer says that includes a bill to do away with the sale of military style assault weapons in Florida.

“We’re working on legislation that would strengthen background checks and our third piece of legislation—which I’ve already filed—which seeks to eliminate many of the loopholes or exclusions to our trigger-lock bill that we already have in Florida, which mandates that one keep a loaded firearm locked and safe when children are in the vicinity,” said Farmer.

Had these measures been in place, Farmer says some of these tragedies may have been prevented.

“There are glaring gaps in the communication base, dealing with people who have mental health issues and possess a firearm. And, there are things that need to be looked at in that regard,” he added. “So, I don’t know that our proposed legislation prevented Fort Lauderdale, but it certainly would have prevented many of the other tragedies we’ve seen.”

Farmer says he’s already in talks with Senate leadership to allow his bills to get a hearing.

Meanwhile, the Florida Coalition To Prevent Gun Violence—made up of more than 100 groups like the League of Women Voters and Equality Florida—also support the bills.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.