How Florida’s Lax Gun Laws Are Endangering The Public

On the heels of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the right-wing is spinning a false narrative referring to the area where the shooting took place as a “gun-free zone.”

We can dispel that myth with the simple truth. If it had truly been a ‘gun-free zone’ as the right wing claims, then 53 people would still be alive. More than 50 others would not have been injured by bullets that came from one or more guns. The simple fact that more than 100 people were shot by a lone gunman is proof that the zone in and around Pulse was not “gun free.”

The fact of the matter is that we can never really have a “gun-free zone” unless some kind of enforcement exists to make sure that guns are kept out. Omar Mateen managed to bring in a handgun and an assault rifle, plus “other devices,” the nature of which are unknown at this time.

According to the Los Angeles Times Mateen purchased both of the guns he took with him legally in the state of Florida. Both of the guns were purchased within the last week. These purchases were allowed, in spite of the fact that Mateen had been on the FBI terrorist watch list.

The Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence awards the state of Florida an F grade for its disturbingly lax gun laws which clearly fail to protect the public.

Here’s a list of some of the problems with the state’s gun laws:

  • Florida does not require a waiting period for people purchasing any weapon other than a handgun.
  • The state does not require a background check for the sale of weapons between two private parties.
  • There is no requirement for people selling firearms to obtain a permit from the state.
  • Gun owners do not need to obtain a license in Florida.
  • Firearms do not have to be registered with the state.
  • There is no regulation on the sales of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines.
  • There is no limit to the number of guns a person can purchase at one time.
  • Florida law requires the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to issue a license to carry a concealed weapon to any applicant who meets certain basic qualifications.

As a result of the state’s failure to pass sane gun control legislation the number of gun homicides in Florida has been rising steadily.

For the right wing to pretend that the Pulse Orlando mass shooting occurred because of a gun-free zone, rather than because state lawmakers have failed to take measures to protect the public from violent, dangerous people with guns is beyond pathetic.

It’s way past time for Florida republicans to act to protect the people of their state by passing reasonable gun control policies.


Image credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty