Florida Republicans Reject Millions in Federal Funds for Gun Violence Prevention

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By Giselle Balido

March 28, 2023

The state, which ranks #2 in mass shootings nationwide, turned down funds designated to support potentially life-saving programs like the state’s “red flag laws.”

In the wake of the March 27 mass shooting at The Covenant School—a Presbyterian private school in Nashville that left three children and three staff members dead, as well as the perpetrator—the need for common-sense gun control laws has become even more apparent. 

This is particularly true for Florida, a state that ranks #2 in the nation in mass shootings, and where guns are the third-leading cause of death for Florida children ages 1–17, according to data provided by Giffords Law Center, an organization dedicated to promoting common-sense gun laws across the nation.

Despite these grim statistics, Florida Republicans have rejected federal funding for gun violence prevention signed into law last June by President Joe Biden. 

RELATED: 2 out of 10 People in the US Have Been Impacted by Gun Violence

The funds provided can be used to support potentially life-saving programs like the “red flag laws,” which remove guns from individuals who are at risk of harming themselves or others. Since 2018, Florida’s “red flag” law has been used 9,000 times, and this funding would reimburse expenses incurred from its use.

However, citing “complex compliance requirements,” Florida was one of just six states to opt out of the application process. As a result, the state turned down as much as $15 million in federal funds. 

The #1 Killer

Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22), a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force who has supported legislation to expand universal background checks and reinstate the federal ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, among other measures, was quick to issue a statement condemning the Sunshine State’s inaction. 

RELATED: Una Dura Realidad: Gun Violence Disproportionally Affects Black and Latino Communities. Here’s What Needs to Be Done.

“Guns are the number one killer of children in America. Parents should know that when their children go to school, the grocery store, or the movies that they will return home safely,” said Frankel, adding that “in a state where the devastating mass shooting at Parkland still weighs heavily on our hearts, it is unconscionable that the DeSantis Administration has chosen to reject this crucial federal funding that can help prevent gun violence and save lives.”

On March 24, lawmakers in the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow gun owners to carry a concealed firearm without a state permit. HB-543 will next go to a final floor vote in the Senate before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs off on it.



  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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