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Florida Senate's mass shooting workshop may produce 'small' reforms

'The public has an appetite'
Posted at 7:37 PM, Sep 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 19:37:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- How can Florida better prevent mass shootings? That was the big question a committee of state senators aimed to tackle Monday afternoon.

For three hours, the Infrastructure and Security Committee heard from researchers, law enforcement and mental health specialists.

The meeting was called by Senate President Bill Galvano following the mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, earlier this year. A memo from the Republican president tapped the committee's chair, Sen. Tom Lee (R-District 20) to host a review of the state's current policies and explore weather more laws were needed.

The committee was big on talk but took no action.

Democrats walked feeling like major gun control reforms were going to be out of reach. Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-District 40) said she had to "be realistic" about what kind of changes could be made when working with Republicans, who control both the House and Senate chambers.

“I think there are small things that we can do," she said. "I think that the public has an appetite for us to do something.”

Sen. Lee felt strengthening background checks was a possibility, though he said mass violence likely needed a more than policy.

“There could be some marginal improvements to public safety in the state of Florida with more enhanced background checks,” he said. "What I hear talking to a lot of these folks, there is no silver bullet. It’s going to take a comprehensive approach.”

Members of Florida’s chapter of Moms Demand Action were also present. Before the meeting started, they handed Sen. Lee more than 800 letters from Floridians, many calling for criminal background checks on all gun purchases.

“I think you’re hearing a lot of voices in our community now," said Kate Kile with Moms Demand Action Tallahassee. "Corporate America as well, joining this conversation, asking lawmakers to do more.”