PARKLAND, Fla. – Family members of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting are reacting to U.S. lawmakers’ proposed gun safety bill.
They have been pushing for stronger gun laws for four years, since the horrible massacre on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
They’re all saying this is a step, albeit a small one, in the right direction.
“I think it’s a first step in a longer conversation,” said Lori Alhadeff.
“It’s a baby step,” said Debbi Hiixon. “It isn’t everything we’d like to see. It’s a good place to start.”
That is some of the cautious optimism from Parkland families after a bipartisan group of senators announced an agreement over the weekend that could help prevent attacks similar to the one that happened at MSD.
“Hopefully it will move through the Senate and become law,” said Hixon. “I think that’s a huge step in the right direction.”
“Could we do more? Should we do more? Yeah, I think we should,” added Alhadeff. “But I think that there is movement for gun safety and school safety and that’s really important for us.”
The agreement would, among other things, put incentives into place for states to create red flag laws, invest more money into mental health resources and it would beef up the review process for people under 21 who are trying to buy AR-15′s, or similar guns.
However, law enforcement and security expert Wayne Black says he’s not sure how much it will really do.
“We feel like we have to do something, and I think that’s what this is,” said Black. “We’re thinking we have to do something, but it doesn’t fit. It’s a square peg in a round hole.”
Stand With Parkland President Tony Montalto says he doesn’t agree, and that it hit’s the three main points his organization believes in: securing school campuses, improving mental healthcare access, and encouraging responsible firearm ownership.
“It’s not perfect, there’s no one solution, but this multi-pronged approach will most assuredly help protect our students and our teachers at schools,” he said.
On Monday Local 10 News’ Ian Margol asked Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott if they’d be supporting the bill once it’s written.
Rubio’s staff pointed to a tweet where he said he’s happy to see red flag laws are a cornerstone of the agreement, and Scott’s staff said he will evaluate it once it’s finished.