Bipartisan gun reform effort has given hope to parents of 2 Parkland students

Republican and Democratic legislators have agreed to certain changes in the laws regarding firearms. This comes after several recent mass shootings, including the attack at a Uvalde elementary school.

After thousands marched across the country – there’s an agreement from both sides of the aisle – but this compromise on gun reform isn’t a done deal just yet.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we can get this passed out of the Senate in about the next two weeks before early July,” Democrat Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said.

“We’re not at the finish line but we can see it, and that’s an encouraging development,” Democrat Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said.

It could be the first real action on gun laws in 30 years, the proposal, which has the support of 10 Democrat and 10 Republican senators includes:

  • Red Flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who are a threat to themselves or others; Florida already has this
  • Mental health and telehealth investments
  • More school security resources
  • And a stricter review process for people under 21 who want to buy a firearm

Ryan Petty – whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina was killed in the Parkland school shooting – has been working with several Senators for change.

“It looks promising. It seems like there’s a possibility that this thing can go through,” Petty said. “Now the details still need to be worked out”

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“Well, unfortunately, I have a voice in the conversation. Because my daughter no longer has hers,” Petty continued. “This is deeply personal to me. And I hope that as a country, we can find a way to protect our kids and our educators in schools. without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Manuel Oliver has also been pushing for reform since his son, 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, February 14, 2018. He says this is far from a cure all, “I am optimistic I’ve seen this happening and I think it’s a good step, but you also have to keep in mind that I lost my son, and that’s still there. I have to see more happening.”

“We have members in Senate and Congress that were there before Parkland and they did nothing before Parkland,” Oliver said. “I always ask these legislators, what were you doing before the shooting? And what are we doing now? We don’t need to celebrate them. This is their job.”

The Senate compromise does not include:

  • Expanded background checks
  • A ban on military-style assault weapons
  • Or raising the minimum age to purchase one from 18 to 21

That is included in a House measure – but that’s unlikely to move through the Senate.

“This requires speed,” Oliver said. “This is something that everyone should be working 100 miles per hour.”

The Senate will have to vote before anything goes to the President’s desk.


About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.