Florida grapples with another mass shooting
A lone armed man opens fire in Florida. Bullets fly, killing and injuring people.
It’s a pattern that has unfolded again in a public space in the same state that was the site of the Parkland shooting that killed 17 people earlier this year, as well as the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack that left 49 dead and the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting that killed five in 2017.
The latest shooting happened Sunday in Jacksonville at a video game tournament. At least two people were killed, according to authorities, and several were injured.
“We have got to change,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday. “We’ve got to really stop and say to ourselves: there’s something wrong… Why are young men willing to give up their life, or why don’t they value somebody else’s life? We’ve got to figure this out.”
Some gun control advocates used the hashtags #AnotherFLShooting and #GunshineState — to convey their frustration and call for gun control in the state that has come to the forefront in the national debate over the issue.
Some criticized the state’s politicians and gun laws.
“We should not have to experience #AnotherFLShooting,” tweeted March For Our Lives, the student group organized after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland earlier this year. “We must #StopGunViolence.”
Student activist David Hogg tweeted to Sen. Marco Rubio: “How many mass shootings in your state will it take for you to do something?”
He and other activists urged voters to take action Tuesday at the polls during Florida’s primaries.
“The nation once again looks to Florida with grief and heavy hearts,” tweeted former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011. “The massacre in Jacksonville is yet another devastating indictment of this country’s inability to keep our kids safe.”
The Giffords Law Center, a gun-control advocacy group that tracks firearms legislation, gave Florida an “F” grade for its gun laws this year. The state doesn’t require a permit or a license for someone to own a gun, according to the center and the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
After a fierce debate over gun laws after the Parkland shooting this year, Florida lawmakers passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which includes banning the sale or possession of bump fire stocks, giving law enforcement greater power to seize weapons and ammunition from those deemed mentally unfit, and raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21 from 18. It also brought a three-day waiting period for firearm purchases, with some exceptions.
The suspect, David Katz, 24, used a handgun in the Sunday shooting, said Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams. He didn’t say how or where Katz acquired the weapon.
The suspect took his own life, the sheriff said.
Katz, who is from Baltimore, Maryland, was in Jacksonville for a video football competition. The FBI, ATF and Baltimore Police were searching the suspect’s South Baltimore home on Sunday.
During the Jacksonville shooting, nine people suffered gunshot wounds and two people were injured while fleeing the area, Williams said.
Dana Loesch, a NRA spokeswoman tweeted that shooting was a “horrible tragedy” and she blamed gun-free zones. “End gun free zones or have the security in place to keep people safe in them,” her tweet said.
Meanwhile, Chryl Anderson, volunteer leader with the Florida Chapter Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s said in a statement: “This horrible news is a deadly reminder that we must do more to prevent gun violence in our communities.”