A terrifying scene unfolded at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in Florida early Friday afternoon. A gunman opened fire in the baggage claim section of one of the passenger terminals, shooting 13, with five fatalities. The suspect is now in custody, and as the police begin their investigation, one thing is clear: guns escalate dangerous situations into deadly ones, and under our nation’s lax gun laws, it’s far too easy for those situations to occur.
Florida has some of our nation’s weakest gun laws, enabling dangerous people to carry out shootings like this one. The state receives an F on our Gun Law State Scorecard, and it fails to require background checks for private sales, has incredibly weak standards for allowing people to carry guns in public, and even bars doctors from speaking about firearm safety with their patients. Indeed, lawmakers in Tallahassee are currently debating a reversal to the state’s open-carry ban that would allow people to bring loaded, visible guns into airports, on college campuses, and at government meetings.
Needless to say, legislation like this is irresponsible, undermines public safety, and facilitates acts of violence in a state that sees far too many shootings each year already, including the deadliest mass shooting in US history in June 2016, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
While we don’t have a single cure for the epidemic of gun violence that continues to plague our nation, we can fix our gun laws in ways that will help reduce the supply of deadly weapons and close the gaps in the law that allow dangerous people to carry out hateful acts of violence like we saw in Fort Lauderdale. It’s up to our lawmakers—both state and federal—to stand up to the gun lobby’s deadly agenda by passing the smart gun laws we know save lives.
To learn more about Florida’s gun laws, see our policy page.
To see how your legislators can improve your state’s gun laws, see the 2016 Gun Law State Scorecard.