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Dems Call for Special Session on Gun Control

August 21st, 2019 by Jake Stofan

Florida Democrats are calling for a Special Session on gun issues in response to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

This isn’t the first time Democrats have attempted to bring the Legislature back to Tallahassee to discuss guns, but the move will require all of Florida’s legislators to go on record, which could be used in the 2020 campaign.

For the third time in six years Florida Democrats are calling for a special session on gun control.

The first attempt in 2013 came after George Zimmerman was acquitted for shooting Trayvon Martin.

“Specifically to call for a special session around stand your ground,” said then-State Representative Alan Williams, who participated in a sit-in at the Governor’s Office demanding the session in 2013.

The effort failed to gather the necessary three-fifths support to trigger the session.

So too did a call for a special session in response to the Pulse Night Club shooting back three years later.

“Suspected and known terrorists should not be able to possess firearms in the state of Florida,” said then-State Senator Darren Soto at a 2016 press conference calling for the session.

This time Democrats want to discuss multiple gun proposals including private sale background checks and banning high capacity magazines.

However, both the Senate President and House Speaker have come out against the renewed calls, making the prospect of a 2019 special session unlikely.

On Twitter, Speaker Jose Oliva highlighted the fact committee meetings begin in only a month.

During those meetings he said he expects, “Robust discussions about our Second Amendment rights, mental health, and their importance in our society.”

Still, Florida law requires the state to poll all 160 members of the Legislature on whether to hold the special session.

In the wake of both El Paso and Dayton, Democrats may hope to use that vote in 2020 campaigns.

“We care a lot about the safety of our communities and our children and we’re watching our legislators and what they’re doing and how they’re responding,” said Kate Kile with Moms Demand Action. “We are responding to the violence we’re seeing in our society. We would hope that our elected officials would also respond in kind.”

Legislators have until next Tuesday to respond, but in the past some have chosen not to go on record when the outcome seemed clear.

The Department of State will be providing daily updates on the vote count.

The first total is expected to be released around 5 pm Wednesday.

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