A crowd of 40 concerned Central Floridians marched past the site of the Pulse nightclub shooting chanting their rallying cry: “No fly, no buy. How many more must die?”
The "March for Pulse," conducted Tuesday morning by the Mothers Demand Action for Gun Sense in America advocacy group, sought to demand a special session of the Florida legislature to discuss a policy that would prevent people on the federal “no-fly” list and other terror watch lists from purchasing firearms.
“This isn’t inspired by the Pulse shooting, per se,” said protest organizer Ayme Levy. “Rather, the Pulse massacre and other mass shootings are a culmination of events that lead us to action against gun violence.”
Starting at Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner’s office and ending at Florida District 47 Rep. Mike Miller’s office, the protest asked for both legislators to address their concerns.
Both offices had letters on their doors claiming they were in meetings.
“What meeting is more important than the destruction of lives that happened right here?” said Henry Lim, one of several opponents for Miller’s seat in the House in attendance.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jared Soto and Rep. Jared Moskowitz held a press conference in front of the Orlando courthouse, where they and other Florida Democratic leaders turned over 40 letters calling for the special session.
The call for “no fly, no buy” legislation isn’t unique to Florida. Last week, a congressional House committee struck down a “no fly, no buy” amendment to existing gun legislation. The Senate struck down a similar proposal days before, and several state legislatures have attempted such legislation to no avail.
The policy has been criticized by the National Rifle Association for its infringement on the Second Amendment. Civil rights advocates have also taken issue with it because of the no-fly list’s questionable accuracy, disproportionate targeting of Muslims and secretive operations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated that the number of people placed on terrorist watch lists without an adequate factual basis is in the tens of thousands.
“We worry that it will disproportionately target members of the Muslim community,” said Muslim civil rights attorney Zahra Billoo during an interview with Fusion. “We know that many of these mass shooters have not been on these terror watch lists because they are not people of color. They are not Muslim.”
Florida Democrats maintain that these criticisms are the basis of reform within the terror watch list’s policies, not an excuse to ignore common sense gun reform.
“The fact of the matter is, if the government has deemed someone too dangerous to get on a plane and fly from here to Tallahassee, then that person should also be too dangerous to own a deadly weapon,” Moskowitz said.
The Florida House will vote on the special session in the coming days, but incoming Minority Leader Janet Cruz estimates that the chances of the special session are “one in a million.”
Story originally published on June 28, 2016.