Faith Leaders Demand Florida Lawmakers to Ban Assault Weapons, Expand Background Checks


March 2, 2018


Michelle Nealy,, (202)735-7123

Joey McKinnon,, 843-364-4403

Faith Leaders Demand Florida Lawmakers to Ban Assault Weapons, Expand Background Checks


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- On Friday, March 2nd, faith leaders, state legislators, students and community members rallied at the statehouse to demand that lawmakers ban assault weapons, expand background checks and not arm teachers. The horrific massacre at Parkland has left the community outraged and advocating for a ban on assault weapons.


Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) and Sen. Linda Stewart (D-Tampa) have introduced bills calling for assault weapon bans, but neither have been placed on their legislative committees’ agenda to be heard.


To view the livestream video, click here. To view pictures, click here.


Rev. Dr. R. B. Holmes, Jr., Bethel Missionary Baptist Church:

“We must listen to the blood of 17 precious lives that were taken from one of our high schools in south Florida. We must listen to the blood. From the grave and the halls of heaven, our brothers and sisters say to us, ‘Lawmakers it is time to not just pray and wish us well, it is time to act. It is time to develop laws that would strict guns in our communities. Now is the time.’”


Rev. Betsy Oellette, Good Samaritan UMC:

“This is not God’s vision, this is not America’s vision. May our Senators hear the still small voice of God whispering loudly, not enough and never again.”


Principal Billy Epting, Leon High School:

“Teachers already serve as educators, counselors, surrogate parents, cooks, custodians, and mentors. We do not need to add armed bodyguard to their already long list of responsibilities. Teachers should be affirmed and acknowledged for their hard work and for the valuable role they play by giving them the resources they need to teach all of our students, and carrying a loaded weapon is not one of those resources.”


Rev. Joe Parramore, New Journey Ministries:

“Since June of 2016, the state of Florida has lost 71 precious lives to assault weapons. This is not the kind of state that we want. The leadership of the state has continually expressed how their faith is a guiding principle for them in their service to Floridians. However, their lack of leadership on responsible gun legislation is only exacerbated by their moral turpitude.”


Barrington McFarlane, Former student body President of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School:

“On February 14th, innocent lives were needlessly taken from this world and with them, the faith we held in our hearts. We are here today because we will not let the ones we love die in vain. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act is a chance to make a little right from a lot of wrong.”




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