Jerry IannelliFebruary 20, 2018
Perhaps no piece of news illustrates how depraved and broken the Florida political system is than what just went down in Tallahassee. Just six days after Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 assault rifle to murder 14 teenagers and three adults at a high school in Parkland, the Florida House of Representatives voted down a measure to ban purchases of assault rifles and large-capacity magazines statewide.
The GOP single-handedly defeated the measure as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who'd just survived the slaughter watched in the gallery. Some broke into tears as the vote was read. The same students have been insulted, victimized, and attacked by conspiracy theorists and shameless pro-gun opportunists all week, and today their state government let them down once more.
Today's vote was simply to discuss the idea of banning sales of the kind of military-style weapon used in Parkland. (It's worth remembering that the federal government had such a ban in place for a full decade until 2004.) Yet every single Republican state representative in Miami-Dade County voted no.
According to Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout, the bill, HB 219, was not heard by a single committee this year and could have passed only if the House voted to waive the standard committee-voting procedure and just give the bill a full floor vote. (Most committees have finished hearing bills for the 2018 legislative session already.) A reasonable person might assume a state rocked by a gun massacre might at least let the full House vote on the idea — but not Florida's Republican-dominated, NRA-beholden House.
Here's a full vote tally:
To make matters easier for voters, here's a list of all the South Florida politicians who voted no, along with their Tallahassee office numbers, if you'd like to let them know how you feel about that vote:
Michael Bileca: 850-717-5115Jose Oliva: 850-717-5110Carlos Trujillo: 850-717-5105Bryan Avila: 850-717-5111Daniel Anthony Perez: 850-717-5116Jeanette Nunez: 850-717-5119Manny Diaz Jr.: 850-717-5103Holly Raschein: 850-717-5120
George Moraitis (skipped vote): 850-717-5093
Palm Beach County:
Bill Hager: 850-717-5089Rick Roth: 850-717-5085
Correction: This piece originally omitted Rep. Holly Raschein, whose district includes Monroe County and parts of southern Dade.