Giffords Florida Bus Tour Arrives in the Tampa Bay Area

Some are asking if gun safety can be an issue benefiting Florida Democrats at the polls in November.

Officials from gun safety group Giffords Florida said it was an issue of deep concern to Sunshine State voters, especially Hispanic voters, because the group’s bus tour stopped in St. Petersburg. and in Tampa on Friday morning.


What do you want to know

  • Giffords Florida is a new political group dedicated to supporting local, state and federal candidates in elections in Florida who are dedicated to ending gun violence
  • The group was co-founded by former U.S. Representative from Arizona Gabby Giffords, who survived a bullet to the head in 2011.
  • Giffords Florida released a survey on Friday showing strong support for candidates who support gun safety legislation
  • President Joe Biden signed a package of bipartisan gun laws in June, the first gun control-related bill passed at the federal level since 1994

“We know that gun safety is a winning issue in Florida and across the country,” said Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, senior counsel for Giffords in Florida, at a press conference held at the Hampton Inn & Suites. in St. Petersburg. “Polls show us that voters, especially in Latino communities, (gun safety) are a top concern.”

Giffords Florida recently commissioned a poll, conducted by SEA Polling, of 722 registered and likely Florida voters that found 76% of respondents supported universal background checks and 61% opposed Governor Ron DeSantis’ stated promise to remove the requirement to obtain a license before carrying a firearm in public, a proposal described as “carrying without a license” by opponents and “constitutional carrying” by its supporters.

In response to these and other questions posed in the survey, Hispanic voters showed more support for gun regulations.

Mucarsel-Powell also noted how in a survey of Latino voters conducted by Axios-Ipsos shortly after the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in June showed that more Latino voters were concerned about the gun violence and crime than by inflation.

Giffords Florida has a bilingual team leading the local chapter, including Mucarsel-Powell and state manager Samantha Barrios, a Miami resident who previously worked for Moms Demand Action before being hired by Giffords earlier this year.

“Many of us who fled our countries, fled because of our personal experience,” said Barrios, who was born and raised in Venezuela. ground.”

The Giffords Florida Bus Tour features Democrats on the ballot this fall who are touted by the group as “gun safety champions.”

The St. Petersburg event featured Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who now has part of eastern Pinellas County in her redistributed congressional district. During her appearance, she took aim at Republican US Senator from Florida Marco Rubio’s record on gun safety.

“I want people to know that they have a US senator in office right now who is not on your side,” she said. “Who has time and again sided with the gun lobby.”

Rubio received more than $3.3 million from the NRA, according to data compiled by Brady, the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention advocacy group.

The Rubio campaign responded by referencing its past Congressional support for measures such as the Extreme Risk Protection and Violence Prevention Act, which would dedicate DOJ funds to urge states to pass similar legislation. to the Florida Red Flag Act and the STOP School Violence Act.

“In the aftermath of Parkland, Senator Rubio sat down with Republicans, Democrats, students, parents, law enforcement and others to find common ground,” the door-keeper said. word of Rubio’s campaign, Elizabeth Gregory. “Although they didn’t agree on everything, they were able to make significant progress, including with the STOP Violence in Schools Act.

The 2018 STOP School Violence Act included provisions to train students, school staff and local law enforcement to identify warning signs and intervene to stop school violence before it happens. does not occur; improving school security infrastructure to deter and respond to threats of school violence; and developing and operating school-based threat assessment and crisis response teams and facilitating coordination between schools and local law enforcement.

Castor also praised President Joe Biden for signing the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in 28 years earlier this summer. This bill received some Republican support, but was opposed by both Rubio and U.S. Senator from Florida Rick Scott.

Among the provisions of this legislation was a measure similar to Rubio’s Extreme Risk Protection and Violence Prevention Act. It offers financial incentives for states to pass red flag laws that allow groups to petition the courts to remove guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Amanda Makki, former GOP congressional candidate from Pinellas County, told Spectrum Bay News 9 this week that she would not have voted for the gun control bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, because she doesn’t believe in red flag laws.

“As a lawyer, I’ve seen how this has been abused in domestic cases,” she said. “And it’s been used to take away people’s Second Amendment rights, and I totally disagree with that. I think it’s been abused in a lot of ways.

The Giffords Florida bus tour will continue through early next week, making stops in Hollywood, Miami, Coral Springs and Orlando. Among the Democrats making appearances are U.S. Representatives from South Florida Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, congressional candidates Jared Moskowitz and Annette Taddeo, and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

And on September 13, the last day of this tour, Giffords co-founder Gabby Giffords will make a few appearances in Orlando.

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