Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence launches social media video campaign

Coalition to End Gun Violence in Florida

Before and after scenes from the Pulse nightclub slaughter of 2016 and before and after images representing the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter of 2012 and the Las Vegas concert slaughter of 2017 are part of a new series of anti-assault weapon videos that The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence has produced and is preparing to spread through social media in coming days.

The videos feature people who lost loved ones at one of the massacres, as well as others involved in the coalition and its leading partners, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, pressing the position that semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines turn killings into mass-killings, and should be banned in Florida.

The coalition and its partners are seeking to exert public pressure on the Florida Legislature, and specifically on Sen. Greg Steube and state Rep. Ross Spano, who are chairs, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, to slow down legislation expanding gun rights, and to at least schedule committee hearings on the gun-control bills introduced by state Sen. Linda Stewart and state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

“There’s still time for them to put them on the agenda,” said Patricia Brigham, co-chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and first vice president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

The coalition released a three-minute video Monday that will be used as a base video for one-minute, 30-second and 15-second videos that will release in coming days. The videos will link to the coalition’s landing page, urging people to contact Steube and Spano, and to support Stewart’s Senate Bill 196 and Smith’s House Bill 219. Both would ban future sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in Florida.

Stewart and Smith are Democrats from Orlando. Steube is a Republican from Sarasota; and Spano, a Republican from Dover.

The full-length “Arm Yourself With the Facts” video begins with a few seconds of Pulse’s dance floor on a night before the massacre, with a narrator stating, “This is your favorite club before semi-autos.” Then comes a rat-a-tat sound, and the narrator says, “This is after,” with images of a destroyed, blood-soaked interior from the club where 49 people were killed and 53 wounded. Generic photos are then shown to represent Sandy Hook and Las Vegas, while speakers talk about loss, horror, and the killing power of semi-automatic weapons.

Among those speaking are Pulse survivor Chris Hansen; Mayra Alvear, whose daughter was killed at Pulse; David Barden, whose young nephew was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary; Dr. Marcus Levy, pediatric surgeon; Rev. Bryan Fulwider; Charles Davis, gun owner and Vietnam veteran; and retired Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Verity.

Brigham said the conversation on guns already has changed in Florida, even if Stewart’s and Smith’s bills are not yet going any further than they did last year, or that previous, similar bills had done in previous years. She said that the lobbyists for the Florida Parent/Teachers Association, the League of Women Voters, Equality Florida, and other groups that are a part of the coalition are working unified on the issue.

“There is a conversation happening now that wasn’t happening before,” Brigham said. “The gun lobby is not getting everything they want, and eventually our responsible gun bills will be heard.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Paula

    January 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Steube is out of touch with his constituents and Florida residents on many issues, including guns, fireworks, and allowing unfettered short-term rentals. His approach seems to be to try and alienate and hurt as many people as possible, while saying it’s all in the name of “rights.” He’s in the pockets of the short-term rental lobby, and of the NRA.

    From Sarasota Magazine: “At a time when America seems caught in a bloody tide of gun violence, state legislatures across the country are rushing not to limit but to increase access to guns, proposing a rash of laws designed to normalize guns and bring them into every aspect of everyday life. Steube, 39, a three-term member of the Florida House now serving his second year in the Senate, is the ultimate expression of this movement, a passionate proponent of the individual citizen’s right to self-defense. A polarizing figure whose gun rights bills have drawn national attention, he may be Florida’s most controversial legislator. “

  • Gene Ralno

    January 29, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    It’s always a good idea to “Arm Yourself With the Facts” but armed predators usually are unimpressed with facts. Citizens who stubbornly refuse to arm themselves will continue to lure nuts, felons, terrorists and illegal aliens. Currently, Sarasota Magazine incorrectly characterizes America as “caught in a bloody tide” but the reality is the violent crime rate declined 51 percent to the lowest rate in almost 50 years. Between 2007 and 2015, in spite of Obama’s best efforts, the U.S. murder rate declined 14 percent while firearm purchases reached historic highs every year peaking at 27 million in 2016.

  • TJ

    January 30, 2018 at 7:59 am

    People who are bad hombres, terrorist, and crazies will get weapons whether they are banned or not. As for the crazies, being mentally ill is not being dumb, these people could be intelligent. If guns are banned, they will still get them because drugs come into America via the southern border, gofast boats, aircraft, and yes even submarines. If assault weapons were banned nationwide, guess what’s coming in with the drugs for their customers that are the bad hombres, terrorist, and crazies.

    The video lays heavy on the Pulse Nightclub, the perpetrator was a Islamic extremist that would have gotten a gun by any means. He was also a licensed security guard meaning that his gun rights were on par with the gun rights of the police because being a licensed security guard is a position of trust. The perpetrator at Sandyhook was a crazy that got his guns by steeling his mother’s and killing her. The Las Vegas shooter had one weapon fitted with a bump stock and had other weapons converted to full automatic. The Las Vegas shooter does not fit the mold with him being a millionaire and able to afford any weaponry from any source. Being a pilot and owning a plane, some speculate that he left the country to have guns converted to full auto.

    There are 100 million gun owners like me out there that have owned guns for decades and never committed a crime and a hand fill of bad hombres, terrorist, and crazies is supposed to mean that me and the rest of the 100 million people are not responsible enough to own guns and will do nothing to curb the gun violence by disarming the legal gun owners. Remember a legal gun owner stopped the Texas church shooter.

    I for one do not want to talk gun control until you could address with me how to have supply side bans for bad hombres, terrorist, and crazies while allowing good law abiding people that commit no crimes to access weapons.

Comments are closed.


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