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Everytown, Florida Moms Demand Action Respond to the Fatal Shooting of a Police Officer in Orlando

Orlando Officer Master Sgt. Debra Clayton Is the First Law Enforcement Officer to be Shot and Killed Nationwide in 2017; Everytown Tracked More Than 200 Law Enforcement Shootings in 2016, Data Available Here

Her Death Follows the First Mass Shooting Nationwide in 2017, Which Took Place in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday, Killing Five People and Injuring Six Others

ORLANDO — Today the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released a statement following the shooting death of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton in Orlando. Another officer was reportedly killed in a car accident responding to the incident. The Orlando shooting is the first fatal shooting of a police officer in the United States in 2017. It closely follows the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting on Friday, which was the first mass shooting, in which four or more people were shot and killed, in the country in 2017. Last June, Orlando was home to the largest mass shooting in modern American history, when a gunman killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others at the Pulse Nightclub.

In a press conference following the Ft. Lauderdale tragedy, Florida Governor Rick Scott told reporters, “you just can’t imagine how this could ever happen in a state like ours.” Home to some of the weakest gun laws in the US, Florida has seen the third-most mass shootings of any state since 2009; the third-most school shootings of any state since 2013; the third-most fatal shootings of law enforcement officers in the line of duty over the last five years; and rates of firearm homicide, suicide, and gun deaths of children well above the national average. Everytown for Gun Safety research shows that in 52 percent of deadly shootings of police, the shooter was prohibited from buying or possessing guns. Governor Scott supports further weakening the state’s lax gun laws.

STATEMENT FROM ANDREA HALPERIN, VOLUNTEER WITH THE FLORIDA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:

“Governor Scott, along with a host of Florida legislators, appears shocked that Florida is again the site of a gun related tragedy. Their shock and prayers are not new. And neither is my outrage over their continued inaction. If our lawmakers wanted to make our state safer, they’d work with us to ensure that every gun sale in the state includes a background check. Research shows that more than half of deadly shootings of law enforcement were committed by people prohibited from buying or possessing guns and reports indicate that the man who shot Master Sgt. Clayton may have been a prohibited purchaser. Law enforcement officer deaths are cut nearly in half in states that require a background check on every gun sale.

My heart is with the families of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton and the Fort Lauderdale victims, as well as with the family of the other officer killed responding to this tragedy. As we mourn, however, we must also pressure our lawmakers to stop repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different result. Florida’s lax gun laws contribute greatly to the high levels of gun violence in our state. There’s no one solution that can prevent all gun violence, but there are basic, common-sense steps we could take, like requiring background checks on all gun sales, that would save lives. Instead, our lawmakers are introducing legislation that would further weaken our gun laws and jeopardize public safety by allowing more guns, for more people, in more places like airports and our schools. It’s time for our lawmakers to stop kowtowing to the gun lobby and start protecting the people of our great state. We must speak out now and reject proposals to make our state even more dangerous.”