Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to go to South Florida within the next month to meet with mothers who have lost children to gun violence.
That meeting stems from a request by state Representative Shevrin Jones, a Democrat serving part of Broward County, who last week asked the governor to form a commission to address gun violence in minority communities.
“We’re going to start with just a meeting with the mothers and some of the elected officials and some law enforcement, and from there, we’re going to take those recommendations and see what the governor does after that,” Jones said Wednesday after meeting with officials from the governor’s staff at the Capitol, a day before the first anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, which killed 17 people.
Gun violence disproportionately affects communities of color in the U.S., particularly the black community. African-Americans between the ages of 15 and 29 are 18 times more likely to be the victim of a gun murder than their white peers, according to a report from the Center for American Progress.
Jones lives in West Park, a community in Broward County. South Florida is a region inundated with gun violence, particularly among the young. According to a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 1,284 children and teenagers were murdered by guns in Florida from 2006-2016, with 43 percent of those deaths taking place in either Broward, Palm Beach or Miami-Dade counties.
“All we want to say is we understand that the violence happened at Marjory Stoneman one year ago, that was a tragedy. Those 17 angels should not have died at the hands of gun violence in the way that it did,” Jones says.
“But we also want to recognize that within the minority community, this is happening every day. These mothers are going home to bloody streets every day. And they want to be heard also and want to get some type of attention.”
While both Democrats and Republicans have filed a number of proposals for the upcoming session on guns, the most controversial is a proposal that would allow for classroom teachers to carry firearms. That measure was approved Tuesday by the Florida Senate Education Committee.