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Florida Moms Demand Action, Everytown Respond to Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee Hearing on Gun Violence Prevention

September 16, 2019

Moms Demand Action Volunteers Delivered 870 Personal Letters to Senator Lee Advocating for Background Checks on All Gun Sales

Background Check Legislation Received Bipartisan Support from Lawmakers Across the Country

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the first Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee hearing on gun safety. Volunteers with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action attended the hearing and delivered 870 personal letters to Senator Lee from Moms Demand Action volunteers across the state urging lawmakers to recommend legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales.

“If lawmakers want to keep our communities safe — and keep their seat in the Statehouse — they must unequivocally support background checks on all gun sales,” said Gay Valimont, volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Floridians know that background checks save lives. That’s why in just one week, nearly 1,000 supporters of gun safety wrote personal letters to Senator Lee advocating for background checks. As committee hearings continue, I’m urging Senator Lee and fellow senators to stand on the side of gun safety and support background checks.”

Background checks are the bedrock of gun violence prevention. But Florida state law currently does not require background checks on unlicensed gun sales, leaving a massive loophole in place that makes it far too easy for criminals, people prohibited from having guns because of mental illness and others with dangerous histories to get their hands on guns through private sales, at gun shows or through online dealers like Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have closed this loophole by enacting laws requiring background checks on all gun sales.

A recent report showed that in 2018 alone, there were over 90,000 online gun sale ads on in Florida that would not require a background check. And one in seven prospective Florida buyers on that site would have failed a background check. That’s a rate nearly 10 times higher than buyers who fail background checks at licensed dealers or in other contexts where background checks are required.

This loophole has deadly consequences. The shooter who killed seven people and wounded 25 last month in Odessa, Texas, purchased the assault-style weapon used in the shooting through a private, or unlicensed, seller and avoided undergoing a background check. In fact, a report from Everytown for Gun Safety on mass shootings that took place between January 2009 and December 2017 found that in at least one-third of mass shootings, the shooter was legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the shooting.

Recent polling by Fox News showed that requiring a background check on all gun sales is supported by 89 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 93 percent of gun-owning households. More information on background checks is available here.

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