What to know and what to do about the Stoneman Shooting

This is being reposted from this morning’s newsletter, where we’ll be providing regular updates on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. If you’re not signed up, you can take care of that here.

It’s kind of a scary morning here in SoFlo, because yesterday, the national epidemic of mass shootings landed in our backyard.

A shooter killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. It’s the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012. There’s a lot of info out there, but here are the basics.

A former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland (that’s at the northern edge of Broward) opened fire at the school yesterday around 2:40 p.m. He killed 17 people and injured 16 more with an assault rifle. He’s now in police custody. We don’t know his motive yet. The high school is going to be closed at least for the rest of the week.

This piece tells the story of what happened in the school.  At least one student tweeted throughout the shooting.

On Monday, Parkland was identified as one of the safest cities in the U.S..

WHO IS THE SHOOTER?

His name is Nikolas Cruz, and the 19-year-old was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas for disciplinary problems. People who knew him described him as obsessed with weapons, and he worried one teacher enough that they warned against letting him on campus with a backpack. This Sun-Sentinel piece has a lot more detail about his childhood.

HOW EASY IS IT TO GET A GUN IN FLORIDA?

Pretty easy, because our background check laws are pretty lax. According to federal law, licensed firearm dealers have to do background checks on buyers, but private sellers – i.e. a normal person who just wants to sell his or her  gun – do not. We also don’t require gun owners to register their guns, nor do we regulate assault weapons.

If you want to really wonk out on this, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has an extensive rundown of our state laws here.

Many of us thought the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando would change things, but in the year after, not a single state-level attempt to strengthen Florida’s gun laws passed. The only thing that passed was an expansion of Stand Your Ground.

TODAY the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee will hear SB740, a whopper of an agricultural bill. What does that have to do with this? Buried in the bill is a provision that would require the state department of agriculture to give a concealed weapons permit applicant a permit within 90 days, even if a required full background check isn’t done yet. The League of Women Voters has the full rundown on that shadiness.

WHAT ARE MY POLITICAL LEADERS TWEETING?

President Trump:

My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.

U.S. Senator Rubio:

Just spoke to Broward School Superintendent. Today is that terrible day you pray never comes.

Fun fact: Only five members of Congress have received more National Rifle Association money than Rubio over the course of their careers, according to The New York Times.

U.S. Senator Nelson:

Our worst fears are being realized. It looks like it’s a number of fatalities. Praying for all those students, families and school members affected at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Representative Deutch, whose district includes Parkland:

Parkland is an idyllic community.  Tragedies like this occur everywhere. School shootings occur everywhere.  This is horrific.

Governor Scott:

Just spoke with @POTUS about shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, their families and the entire community. We will continue to receive briefings from law enforcement and issue updates.

Broward County Schools Superintendent Runcie:

Today we experiencing the worst of humanity as an unspeakable tragedy has hit our @browardschools family at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. There has been a shooting on campus with injuries and fatalities.  We are working with law enforcement as we pray for our babies and families.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I WANT TO ADVOCATE FOR MORE GUN CONTROL?

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has a local chapter. Learn more and get involved here. Text JOIN to 64433 to get updates about events and campaigns.

On Feb. 26, local grassroots gun control group Parents of Murdered Kids is holding a town hall to address gun violence in Miami. You can find those details here.