In the wake of Florida’s horrific school shooting, Gwen Graham, a Democratic candidate in the state’s gubernatorial race, called on Gov. Rick Scott to immediately suspend sales and permits of AR-15s and assault-style weapons.
If no action is taken soon, Graham said, Scott’s legacy “will be forever covered in blood.”
Graham, a former congresswoman, called out the governor and the state’s Republican lawmakers in a statement released on Friday. Her plea comes days after a 19-year-old man confessed to walking into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 assault-style rifle and opening fire.
Wednesday’s massacre left 17 people dead and 15 others wounded. The victims included both students and staff.
“Listen to the children who survived this shooting and the mothers who lost their kids,” Graham said. “I stand with them in demanding our leaders take action now.”
Graham pointed out that the gun used in Wednesday’s attack was similar to the weapon used during the horrific shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando two years earlier. The Orlando shooter reportedly used a .223 SIG Sauer MCX rifle, killing 46 people and injuring 53 others.
“After the largest mass shooting in modern American history, Rick Scott sat on his hands,” Graham said. “After 13 school shootings, Rick Scott looked the other way. After the massacre of children, Rick Scott won’t even say the words commonsense gun safety laws.”
“If Rick Scott and Republicans in Tallahassee won’t even confront the problem we face, how can we expect it to ever stop?” she added. “Rick Scott’s legacy will forever be covered in blood.”
Graham’s pitch to halt sales of assault-style weapons as a “temporary measure.” She called on lawmakers to move forward with gun safety measures that she and other Democrats in the legislature have proposed in previous years as a state representative.
These measures include tougher background checks, banning “large capacity ammunition magazines,” restricting domestic abusers from owning guns and a ban on assault-style weapons.
When asked about Graham’s request, the governor’s office directed media outlets to Scott’s previously released statement, which mentioned plans on meeting with state leaders to discuss ways to “keep guns away from individuals struggling with mental illness.”
“To our elected officials in the Legislature: It is time to act and engage,” Graham said.
“Don’t turn off the TV, don’t vacation over your long weekend,” she added. “Listen to what the students in that school have to say. Listen to the grief-stricken parents. They are demanding your action and I am standing with them.”