Post-Parkland, Levine targets guns

Less than a week after a 19-year-old shooter gunned down 14 teenagers and three faculty members at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine’s campaign released a new TV ad targeting gun laws.
Levine’s political committee, All About Florida, is spending $725,000 for the 10-day ad buy in all of the state’s 10 media markets, according to a release issued Tuesday.

“The new ad is a direct response to the Marjory Douglas Stoneman shooting, and an urgent appeal from Mayor Levine for common-sense gun reform in the state of Florida,” according to the release.

In the ad, entitled “We Will,” Levine blasts Florida for having some of the weakest gun laws in the nation.

“The tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High is a wake-up call we can’t ignore,” Levine, the former mayor of Miami Beach, says. “If the legislature won’t do it, we will.”
Watch the video here.
“As the brave students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas spearhead a movement to pass needed gun reform legislation in Florida and across our country that is garnering bipartisan support, the people of Florida are now saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ This new ad takes Mayor Levine’s strong stance on these issues directly to the people. As Mayor Levine states in the ad, if leaders will not pass better background checks, more mental health funding and a permanent ban on assault weapons in the state of Florida, then we will,”  Christian Ulvert, senior advisor to the campaign, said in the release.

Charlie Ward: Prayer huddle captain

Florida State University’s 1993 Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, who led the Seminoles national championship that year and then spent 11 seasons in the NBA, will
give the keynote address at the 2018 Legislative Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday.

The event kicks off with a continental breakfast and coffee at 7 a.m. in the Cabinet Meeting Room on the lower level of the Capitol — – LL on the elevators, where flyers promoting the event and Ward’s appearance were on display Monday.

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By Jim Turner

Douglas High grad Moskowitz: Off with his head!

AlyssaAlhadeffState Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat, volunteered for jury duty while blasting reports that defense lawyers are trying to avoid the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder after Wednesday’s shooting spree at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

Moskowitz is a graduate of the Parkland school and has spent the days since Cruz’s rampage — the second-worst school shooting in the nation’s history — consoling members of the grief-stricken Broward County community.

“Frankly, it is indefensible for the prosecution or defense to already be considering whether or not the death penalty will be on the table for this domestic terrorist. The families who lost their children, who lost everything, who are broken forever must be consulted. Let them decide!” Moskowitz said in a press release Monday morning.

The 19-year-old gunman’s assault “was a methodically planned and executed mass murder,” Moskowitz, a lawyer, said.

“Not only had he carefully calculated the attack, he had an escape plan and used it. This wasn’t a suicide mission, this was an act of terror that he wanted to commit and walk away from, living to see another day, and now he wants to live again, in jail! We should not give him what he wants,” he ranted.

“If you were to ask my opinion? Off with his head! To the State Attorney: I am available for jury duty,” Moskowitz concluded.

Talking heads on Florida school shooting

IMG_0075Response to last week’s massacre of 17 people at a Parkland high school last week dominated the Sunday morning news shows.

While speaking on New York City’s AM 970, Attorney General Pam Bondi urged individuals to report online threats and comments. The FBI admitted it failed to follow up on at least one report that 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz posed a danger.

“If all our kids are on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and if your child sees something, they have to take it seriously,” Bondi said. “I’d rather you call it in as a parent or as a child and be wrong 100 percent of the time than not call it in.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from Miami, and Ted Deutch, a Democrat whose district includes Parkland, spoke of the need to address gun-safety laws while on ABC’s “This Week.”

“What we need is congressional leaders, specifically in my party, to allow some of these bills to come to the floor for debate,” Curbelo said.

Deutch said lawmakers need to listen to the students that survived the shooting, who have told him they want action.

“The difference this time is that these kids — you’ve spoken to them — the world has heard them, they’re just not going to sit back after what they experienced, after what they saw, the worst things imaginable, they’re not going to just sit back and take it,” Deutch said.

Outspoken survivors of the rampage at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School — the second worst school shooting in the nation’s history — have drawn international attention in their demands for lawmakers to do something about gun laws to prevent future tragedies like the one that took the lives of 14 of their classmates.

About 100 students are scheduled to take buses to Tallahassee Tuesday night, meet with state lawmakers on the following day and hold a rally on the steps of the Old Capitol at noon Wednesday.

“They’re going to stand up for their lives, that’s what this is about, and all of the excuses that are normally given about not getting things done and the difficulty of fighting outside groups and the gun lobby,” Deutch said. “None of that is as powerful as these students.”

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” David Hogg, a student at the Parkland high school, said he won’t feel safe returning to class, calling out Congress to make “reasonable change” to the nation’s gun laws.

“How many more students are going to have to die and have their blood spilt in American classrooms trying to make the world a better place just because politicians refuse to take action?” Hogg said.

Appearing on the same program as Hogg, Broward County School District Superintendent Robert Runcie said he’d support the use of student records as part of background checks.

“Given what I’ve seen so far, I believe that we need a smarter system,” Runcie said. “We need a smarter infrastructure where various agencies, departments, school systems, they’re working in a more integrated, collaborative fashion to ensure that we can share data, we can share information to enhance our level of effectiveness.”

 Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Parkland shooting, had been kicked out of school. The FBI has acknowledged a failure to follow protocols on a tip received about Cruz, while the Broward County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into numerous calls it had received the past few years about Cruz.

Gov. Rick Scott has demanded FBI Director Christopher Wray resign.

Rush Limbaugh, a conservative radio host from Palm Beach, appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he called for the expansion of concealed-carry laws to allow people with permits to be armed in schools.

“If we are really serious about protecting the kids, we need a mechanism to be defensive when this kind of thing — if we’re not going to take action, we better have mechanisms in these schools to stop it when it breaks out,” Limbaugh said. “If we don’t do that, then all the rest of this is nothing more than political posturing for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 election.”

The state Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled Tuesday to hear a proposal (SB 1236) that would allow school principals or school superintendents designate people who could carry guns during school hours.

A separate measure (SB 1048), expected to go before the full state Senate on Wednesday, would alter the law that prohibits people with a concealed-carry permit from carrying at a religious facility on property that also includes a school. Currently, individuals with a permit are allowed to carry at churches and other religious institutions on property that doesn’t have accompanying education facilities.

By Jim Turner.

Gun-rights group blames Parkland massacre on Florida lawmakers

Democrats and gun control advocates are blaming Wednesday’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on lax state and federal gun laws.
But a Second Amendment group is pointing the finger at the Florida Legislature for refusing to approve a law that would allow concealed weapon license holders to bring their guns to schools.
In an open letter to Florida lawmakers sent Friday, Florida Carry demanded that the Republican-controlled Legislature hurriedly pass legislation the organization’s general counsel, Eric Friday, maintains would make schools safer.
Florida Carry is asking House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron to:
    • Pass emergency legislation to eliminate gun-free zones for law-abiding concealed carry licensees;
    • Pass emergency legislation authorizing all teachers in public schools who possess a CWFL to carry their licensed, concealed firearm if they so choose, without repercussion;
    • Provide immediate funding of one million dollars in grants for county school boards and sheriffs to implement pilot programs of the Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) Program in the State of Florida.
The day after the school shooting that left 17 individuals — including 14 teens — dead,  the guns-at-school measure popped up on next week’s Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda for its first hearing, more than midway through the session. The committee is headed by Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who has pushed for NRA-backed bills.
Here’s the full text of the Florida Carry missive:
As the State of Florida mourns the loss of innocent lives on Wednesday in Broward County, I mourn too, but I am also angry. I am angry that the Florida Legislature has once again enabled an evil individual to take innocent lives because the Legislature refuses to acknowledge the fact that that evil people will not follow the laws it passes. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Legislature acts as if the laws it passes will stop criminals. Laws punish wrongdoing, they do not stop wrongdoers. Yet Florida continues to prohibit licensed law-abiding citizens from possessing the tools to protect themselves and their children from mass murder.
Despite the repeated failure of so called “gun-free zones”, the Florida Legislature has taken no steps over the past seven years to protect our children. While the responsibility for Wednesday’s events rests solely with the actions of the evil person who committed this act, it is the Legislature that has enabled such tragedies to occur. It is the Legislature’s inaction that has made such tragedies worse.
The Legislature has ignored the repeated requests of Florida Carry, other civil rights groups, and the law-abiding citizens of this state to give up the fallacy of “gun-free zones”. This body has left our children and their teachers defenseless. It has kowtowed to anti-freedom groups and has blocked or refused to hear common-sense legislation to protect our children and the professionals to whom we entrust our children’s care on a daily basis.
It is a well-established fact from numerous such events that bad people with guns will only stop their carnage when confronted by an armed response. Every second until that response occurs allows the murderer to kill and maim more innocents.
From 1987 until now, every time the Legislature has acted to restore the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect those for whom they love and care, those citizens have responsibly exercised the trust placed in them. Every time, those citizens have proven the claims of the anti-gun forces to be lies. Every time, the claims of dire consequences for returning rights to the people have proven false.
This case was not a failure of law-abiding citizens to act responsibly. This was another failure of law enforcement to investigate and stop a deranged individual. People did SEE something, and people did SAY something, but law-enforcement failed to fully investigate and prosecute the shooter for prior crimes. Just as in Sutherland Springs, law-enforcement’s failure is being blamed on law-abiding citizens and their legal firearms. Law-abiding citizens cannot rely on law enforcement to protect them and must be given the means to protect themselves.
The time for half-measures and incrementalism is over. It is past time to give ‘we the people’, our teachers, and the parents volunteering in schools the ability to defend themselves and stop these tragedies.
The time to act is now. For years, many in the Legislature have touted their NRA ratings. They have claimed to be on the side of the law-abiding citizens with licenses who, for over three decades, have proven themselves more law-abiding than even the police officers who heroically responded Wednesday. Why then, should these same citizens be left defenseless while they await law enforcement’s response?
In every state that has allowed law-abiding citizens to carry in schools, the citizens have proven equal to the challenge. None of these states have suffered what Florida suffered Wednesday. Those state have eliminated a favorite target of the deranged individuals who commit such evil.
Florida Carry hereby calls on the Legislature to immediately:
  1. Pass emergency legislation to eliminate gun-free zones for law-abiding concealed carry licensees;
  2. Pass emergency legislation authorizing all teachers in public schools who possess a CWFL to carry their licensed, concealed firearm if they so choose, without repercussion;
  3. Provide immediate funding of one million dollars in grants for county school boards and sheriffs to implement pilot programs of the Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) Program in the State of Florida. http://fastersaveslives.org
Though the Legislature’s inaction enabled Wednesday’s events, errors of judgment can be corrected if good people are willing to admit they were wrong. It is time for those who support the Second Amendment, who recognize that armed citizens are an asset, and who truly want to protect our children, to recognize and admit that evil will not obey laws. Evil will not respect gun-free zones. Evil will not be stopped by anything other than armed response. The longer that response, the more innocent lives lost.
I am reminded today of the teachers at Sandy Hook who died trying to shield the children they loved from evil. An unarmed person is just another victim. An armed person is a force who can stop the carnage. It is within the Legislature’s power to make sure that if it happens again, the response will be faster and fewer innocent lives will be lost.
As a father of two public school children I cannot wait any longer. I want my children to be safe when they are not with me. I will not rest until the Florida Legislature takes action to protect my children and their friends. If it will not be done by those already in the Legislature, it will be done by those who replace them.
Sincerely,
Eric J. Friday
General Counsel, Florida Carry, Inc.
Father

Gibson, Berman demand action on gun removal bill

gun-pistolSome Florida Democrats are demanding that House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron allow the vetting of legislation that wold allow family members or law enforcement officers to obtain court orders to temporarily remove guns from the homes of individuals who have demonstrated they are a danger to themselves or could be violent.

The call for the bills come in the aftermath of Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 individuals, including 14 teenagers.

Cruz had a highly troubled past prior to unleashing a hail of bullets from a semi-automatic assault weapon after being dropped off at the high school, from which he was expelled, by an Uber driver on Valentine’s Day.

Sen. Audrey Gibson and Rep. Lori Berman are asking that the bills (SB 530, HB 231) — which mirror a proposal pushed by U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat and former police chief — get a hearing before the legislative session ends on March 9.

“Now more than ever, these bills must be heard. The most recent shooting is unacceptable and too tragic to comprehend. It is time we step up and come together to act on meaningful gun safety reform,” Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, said in a press release. “As a mother, my heart breaks for these families. There are no words to describe the horror of a child not returning home from school. Florida needs to set an example for the rest of the nation by not just demanding action but taking action.”

The legislation potentially could have prevented the Parkland tragedy had it been in place, the Democrats asserted.

“With so many mass shootings and the mantra ‘now is not the time to talk about gun control’ we will never have the discussion,” Gibson said in the release.

Plakon gets inked, for love & a purpose

27858061_10211168422390009_9209410574083576882_nState Rep. Scott Plakon, not exactly the guy who comes to mind when you think of body art, got a tattoo.

“Really. I’m not kidding. A real one,” the Longwood Republican wrote on his Facebook page, where he also posted photos of what looks like a painful process.

The inking was an “unusual gift” for his wife, Susie, who has Alzheimer’s Disease.

In the social media post, Plakon wrote that his “new life’s mission” is to heighten awareness to the reality of Alzheimer’s.

“What better way to make it permanent than to get a tattoo?” Plakon wrote.

The politician said he stopped at “Infamous Tattoos” in Leesburg on his way home from Tallahassee, where he personalized the purple ribbon signifying Alzheimer’s.

plakon ink

“Susie’s favorite flower is the daisy. For the last three years the name of our team at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s has been “Unforgettable Daisy” in honor of Susie. Sort of an unusual gift but Happy Valentines Day Susie Plakon!”