Continuing her bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis in November, this week, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried urged Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Tribly, and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, to call a Special Session of the Florida Legislature to address gun violence.
Fried emphasized the need for “bold, comprehensive action to prevent gun violence terrorism in Florida,” but suggested in the interim for the Legislature pass two pieces of existing legislation, Jaime’s Law and a bill Fried introduced in 2020 to close loopholes.
Fried’s letter to Simpson and Sprowls is below.
I am writing to urge you to call a Special Session of the Legislature to pass additional gun safety measures. After the tragic massacre last week at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas where 19 children and two teachers were murdered, we must act immediately to prevent another mass shooting from occurring in our state.
Because you both have so passionately advocated for “pro-life” policies, I believe we can agree that we must do everything possible to protect the lives of innocent Floridians from gun violence. Speaker Sprowls, just last month you stated that “Life is a gift from God, and in Florida we have fought fervently to defend it at all stages.” President Simpson, you also recently applauded our state for “strong pro-life, pro-child, and pro-family legislation.”
The truth is that guns are now the leading cause of death in children and adolescents in the United States. In order to truly be pro-life, the Legislature must enact common-sense gun safety measures. We have a moral obligation to protect the lives of the people of Florida and our precious children by taking serious action to stop gun violence.
Fortunately, there are several pieces of existing legislation the Legislature could immediately take up and pass to make our state more safe. For example, in 2020 my department introduced a bill (HB 809) to close dangerous loopholes and keep firearms out of the hands of bad actors who are not legally permitted to have them. Representative Dan Daley has also introduced Jaime’s Law (HB 181) during the past three legislative sessions to require background checks for ammunition purchases. While we must take bold, comprehensive action to prevent gun violence terrorism in Florida, passing these bills is a good place to start.
I am requesting that you immediately call a Special Session for the Legislature to pass these bills. Our state knows all too well the pain and trauma caused by mass shootings. If the Legislature doesn’t take action now, it will bear responsibility the next time one of these tragedies occurs.
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