Florida Democrats call for special session on gun reform

After two more mass shootings claiming 31 lives renewed a national call to curb gun violence, Florida House Democrats are forcing a vote on whether lawmakers should return to Tallahassee for a special session focused on gun reform.

Forty-one state representatives sent letters to Secretary of State Laurel Lee calling for a special session to address a variety of gun-related topics, including universal background checks, safe gun storage, a ban on high-capacity magazines and the creation of a task force in urban areas to address day-to-day gun violence.

The group of lawmakers who sent letters make up more than 20% of the chamber’s 120 members, triggering a poll of the entire Legislature. If 60% — or 96 members— of both chambers agree, a special session will be held ahead of this year’s committee weeks, which begin Sept. 16. They have the next week to submit their vote to Lee.

“Recent events in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, serve as a stark reminder of the inadequate measures taken to date to safeguard our citizenry against similar gun-related violence via the passage of common sense gun-reform proposals,” the letters said. “The targeted killing of Hispanic/Latino citizens by a domestic terrorist in El Paso, Texas, should compel us to take immediate action to safeguard Florida’s residents, including more than 4 million Hispanic/Latino residents.”

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