Florida Democrats secure roughly half the votes needed for special session on gun reform on 1st day

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE: As of the close of business Wednesday the special session had received 39 yes votes in the House and 13 yes votes in the Senate. All yes votes were from Democratic lawmakers.

ORIGINAL: Florida Democrats are attempting to force a special session on gun reform, and a poll of state lawmakers is currently underway.

The session would deal with background checks, high-capacity magazines and the state’s red flag law.


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Twelve senators and 34 representatives had already voted yes by the close of business Tuesday, the first day of the poll.

All lawmakers who have voted yes are Democrats.

Twelve more yes votes are still needed in the Senate and 37 more are needed in the House in order to make the special session a reality, but the writing is likely on the wall.

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The GOP majority has repeatedly rejected the proposals in the past.

“We have been trying to tackle this problem for years, and, unfortunately, our bills oftentimes don’t get hearings,” said State Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville).

Nixon said the hope is for the public to put pressure on Republicans to act and “push the legislators to do their jobs.”

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The call for the special session includes new regulations on high-capacity magazines, universal background checks and expanding the state’s red flag laws to allow family members to petition courts to have firearms removed if a loved one poses a risk to themselves or others.

“We need to do everything we can to protect Floridians,” said State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Winter Park).

Smith argued with Congress and attempted to find bipartisan solutions to gun violence, stating other lawmakers need to do the same.

“Our constituents really expect this time to be different. The Uvalde and Buffalo shootings that have rocked the United States are deeply personal for Floridians after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, at Pulse nightclub, which is now six years later,” said Smith.

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howie-in-the-Hills) was one of just six Republicans who weighed in on the special session on the first day of the poll.

All six voted no.

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“I don’t think we need more gun law restrictions,” said Sabatini.

Sabatini called the proposals put forward by Democrats a distraction.

“They do nothing. States that have all of those laws on the books already in places like New York and California have actually more gun crime than most states,” said Sabatini.

The governor also weighed in on gun restrictions Wednesday, arguing the response to mass shootings needs to focus on the individuals committing the acts of violence.

“You focus on the criminal. You focus on the lunatic. You don’t kneecap the rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Governor DeSantis.

Lawmakers have until 3 p.m. Friday to respond to the poll.

A similar effort in 2018 after the Parkland shooting failed to garner the support needed to call legislators back to Tallahassee.

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