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Florida lawmaker re-introduces bill aimed at curbing gun violence

by: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax Updated:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida lawmaker Sen. Audrey Gibson, who represents District 6, is re-introducing legislation that she believes will help curb gun violence.

If approved, the bill would allow family and law enforcement to get a court order for a mentally ill family member that would prevent them from getting guns temporarily.

Sen. Gibson, who is filing the bill with Sen. Lori Berman, calls it a “common sense” approach that would empower family members who may not know what to do while not violating anyone’s Second Amendment rights.

“It made me ill and my heart hurt and it continues to happen over and over,” Gibson said. 

That’s how Sen. Gibson felt after watching the devastation unfold in Las Vegas.

Investigators said Stephen Paddock, 64, meticulously planned the worst attack in modern history, which left 59 people dead, including the gunman, and injured hundreds more at the Route 91 Harvest festival. 

“This bill incorporates mental health issues as well as potential for violent behavior, but it doesn't just strip away someone's rights. There is a court process,” said Gibson.

Gibson said the bill requires a court order if and when there’s demonstrated evidence that a person poses a significant danger.

“So in front of a judge and testimony from law enforcement and family, then that court process will determine whether or not that person should relinquish their firearms and relinquish their license to carry,” Gibson said.

According to Sen. Gibson said, it also will empower families and law enforcement to act.

“I think we really need to enable them. I know it will be difficult because it's a loved one, but it's in the loved one's best interest to get help,” Gibson said.

Gibson said because Congress hasn’t acted, it’s up to the states to step up.

“It's a scary time and we shouldn't live that way and we need to get help for people who need it,” Gibson said.

It’s unclear if the Las Vegas shooter had a history of mental illness. Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson said investigators will find out more after the autopsy.