The Florida chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to the shooting of a pregnant transgender man who was shot and killed in Polk County, Florida on July 21. While details are still emerging, reports indicate that 21-year-old, Camdyn Rider, a trans man who was eight months pregnant was killed by his fiancé, who then fatally shot himself.
This incident wasn’t isolated — since January 2017, there have been 237 homicides of transgender individuals in the United States and Puerto Rico, 73% of which were with a gun. It’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims who have been misgendered, as was initially the case in this month’s shooting – the initial press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, which misgendered the Camdyn Rider.
“We are heartbroken to learn of this horrific incident, and we stand with Camdyn’s loved ones during this immensely difficult time,” said Becky George, Chief Movement Building Officer, Everytown for Gun Safety. “Camdyn should be alive today, and acts of violence like this remind us of the incredibly dangerous relationship between guns, intimate partner violence, and the transgender community. To honor Camdyn’s life and legacy, we must do more to protect the transgender community and demand our lawmakers pass legislation that will.”
This tragic trend isn’t happening in a vacuum. More than half of transgender individuals have experienced intimate partner violence, and it comes as states across the country have been advancing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation while simultaneously dismantling their gun safety laws.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis signed permitless carry legislation into law on April 3 behind closed doors despite polling showing that 77 percent of Floridians oppose the dangerous legislation. According to the Gun Violence Archive, since its enactment, Florida has experienced nine mass shootings. Permitless carry allows people to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public without a permit, criminal history check, or safety training, and dismantled Florida’s system of responsible gun ownership. Because Florida does not require background checks on unlicensed firearm sales, someone can buy a gun online with no background check — the permit may have been the only background check a person ever received. This legislation took away a vital tool from law enforcement to ensure a person carrying a gun in public isn’t a criminal with a dangerous history. Law enforcement across the country, including in Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina have been vocal opponents of permitless carry legislation.
In an average year, 2,989 people die and 5,267 are wounded by guns in Florida. Florida has the 20th-highest rate of gun violence in the US and three-fourths of homicides against transgender people involved a gun. To keep trans and gender-nonconforming people safe, lawmakers at every level must take action to prioritize legislation that protects individuals from intimate partner violence.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has tracked homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. since 2017. In addition to breaking down gun violence to the state- and county-level, the platform includes a database of known trans or gender nonconforming homicide victims in the United States.