Early on Sunday morning as downtown Orlando businesses were closing for the night, a fight erupted and a shooter opened fire into a crowd. While no one was killed, at least 7 people were hospitalized after being shot and wounded. Just two days earlier in Southwest Miami-Dade, a shooting at an apartment complex left four teenagers wounded, one of whom remains in critical condition. These devastating shootings will leave permanent scars on survivors and entire communities, and they are indicative of the gun violence plaguing cities across Florida on a daily basis — many of which don’t make the news.
As gun violence continues to rock the state, elected officials refuse to take action to make Floridians safer. This past legislative session, some state lawmakers even attempted to further weaken the state’s existing gun laws, with Governor Ron DeSantis and other lawmakers publicly committing themselves to passing permitless carry, a dangerous policy shown to increase gun violence in other states. Research shows that gun safety policies save lives, and states with dangerous policies like permitless carry on the books experience higher rates of gun violence.
State and local leaders have a vital role to play in combating gun violence. Instead of pushing dangerous policies like permitless carry that are proven to make communities less safe, Florida lawmakers should be working to advance common sense gun safety measures that will save lives across the state — such as funding community-based violence intervention programs.
In an average year, 2,849 people are killed by guns in Florida, and 5,267 more are wounded. Guns are the second-leading cause of death for children and teens in the state. Gun violence costs Florida $40.3 billion each year, of which $875.9 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Florida is available here.