Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statements following newly released footage of a road rage shooting in Florida. Dashcam footage of the incident shows a driver firing 11 rounds at another driver during a road rage encounter. The shooter was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and shooting into a vehicle – he is claiming self-defense.
“Everyday confrontations turning into dangerous shootouts is a result of the gun lobby’s agenda of guns everywhere, for anyone, no questions asked,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “It should come as no surprise that record gun sales matched with dangerous laws like permitless carry, and ‘shoot first, then claim self-defense’ stand your ground laws are coinciding with increases in road rage shootings across the country. Instead of choosing violence, lawmakers must choose public safety and pass common sense gun safety laws.”
“This is the world the gun lobby wants, and the world that’s been created by the lax gun laws they support – where the answer to any situation is to pull out a firearm and start blasting away,” said Wendy Malloy, a volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “The absolute last thing that Florida needs right now is any attempt to further weaken its gun laws, which would only lead to more acts of gun violence like this.”
Road rage gun violence appears to be on the rise – steadily as well in recent years. Florida has one of the nation’s most extreme ‘Stand Your Ground’ or ‘Shoot First’ laws, which allows people to shoot first and ask questions later, even when they could safely remove themselves from the situation. The laws are associated with more than 150 additional gun deaths nationally every month. In Florida, studies show that homicide rates increased 24 to 45% after the law was enacted in 2005. Last session, lawmakers in Florida introduced the Self-Defense Restoration Act, and have reintroduced it this session; the SDRA would repeal ‘Shoot First’ in Florida and return Florida to traditional self-defense law. Lawmakers in Florida are also considering permitless carry legislation that would allow people to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public with no background check and no questions asked.
“The mere presence of a gun in a motor vehicle increases aggressive driving,” one of the authors of the study, Brad Bushman, a professor of communication at Ohio State University who has studied aggression and violence for over 30 years, told ABC News. “The chance that a situation of conflict, like being cut off in traffic, will end up deadly is increased if a gun is available,” Bushman said.