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Tampa Bay Times: Republican Lawmakers Begin to Support Background Checks

An editorial published Friday by the Tampa Bay Times highlighted the growing support Republicans lawmakers in Florida are showing for legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales and called on other Republicans to follow suit.

At a Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee hearing last week, Committee Chairman Senator Tom Lee said that a policy requiring background checks “seems to me to make the most common sense, not just to me, but to the average Floridian.” Prior to the hearing, volunteers with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action delivered 870 letters to Senator Lee urging him to consider legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales. To schedule an interview with a Florida Moms Demand Action volunteer, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board wrote:

“As Congress stalls and the Florida Legislature hides on gun safety, there are rare Republicans who have the courage to speak up. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos called on Congress last week to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. State Sen. Tom Lee of Thonotosassa suggested the Legislature could at least require universal background checks of gun purchasers. Where are the other Republicans who have lost their voices and their willingness to act on a national and state priority?

Voters in Florida and the nation are not moving on. They are demanding action on gun safety, and Republicans such as Cretekos and Lee deserve credit for answering the call. What will it take for more of their Republican colleagues to find their voices — and their backbones?”

A recent report showed that in 2018 alone, there were over 90,000 online gun sale ads on Armlist.com in Florida that would not require a background check. And one in seven prospective Florida buyers on that site would have failed a background check. That’s a rate nearly 10 times higher than buyers who fail background checks at licensed dealers or in other contexts where background checks are required.

Recent polling by Fox News showed that requiring a background check on all gun sales is supported by 89 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 93 percent of gun-owning households. More information on background checks is available here.