A coalition of more than 70 organizations that called on state legislators to convene a special session by July 4 to ban assault weapons and strengthen background checks will continue to fight, despite lawmakers' deaf ears.
The Florida Coalition To Prevent Gun Violence was formed in the wake of the June 12 massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
One week after one young woman was killed at the Plaza Live theater and 49 people killed at Pulse Night Club, letters calling for the special session were hand-delivered to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.
None responded to the letter, despite Orlando being home to the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
"The July 4th deadline may have passed, but we will continue to push for responsible gun legislation and hold our lawmakers accountable for the public safety of Floridians," said Patricia Brigham, chairman of the state league's Gun Safety Committee.
"The newly formed Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is 70 organizations strong and growing. We are in this fight to go the distance, no matter how long it takes" she said.
The coalition includes a diverse array of organizations including Equality Florida, Hispanic Federation, Interfaith Council of Central Florida, Florida Council of Churches, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, Florida PTA and Doctors for America.
They cite that safe gun legislation must occur on the state level and that our legislators can't wait for the federal government to take action. As noted in their letter, seven states have already banned assault weapons and eight prohibit large capacity ammunition-feeding devices.
In the wake of the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history, Floridians are asking for more than prayers and vigils from our elected representatives.
Other states have helped to protect their citizens by enacting reasonable gun legislation. Don't pass the buck to federal government. This is a Florida right and a Florida responsibility.
Pamela Goodman is president of the Florida State League of Women Voters.