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Florida Senate Will Study White Nationalism and Other Factors in Mass Violence

| August 6, 2019

dayton ohio shooting

Aftermath of one of last week’s shootings. (Becker1999)

In the run-up to the 2020 legislative session, the Florida Senate will review acts of mass violence such as the deadly shootings this weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, along with factors such as white nationalism.

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on Monday directed Senate Infrastructure and Security Chairman Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, to lead efforts to determine if any further action is needed after laws were enacted in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“With committee meetings resuming just one month from now, our focus should be on steps the Senate can take to review and better understand the various factors involved in mass shootings, in addition to, and also including, school shootings,” Galvano wrote in a memo to senators. “This includes white nationalism, which appears to be a factor not only with regard to these recent mass shootings, but also with other acts of violence we have seen across the country in recent years.”

The House isn’t expected to engage in a similar review before the January start of the 2020 session. House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, released a statement in which he said “Racism, including white nationalism, is a vile, disgusting, un-American ideology.”

“We cannot lose sight, however, that those who subscribe to those beliefs are few and their ideas so rejected that their words and actions unify all Americans — left and right, black, white or brown — in abhorrence and condemnation,” Oliva said.

Oliva noted that as a Hispanic American, he’s seen more generosity and inclusiveness than discrimination and hatred.

“What we know is; evil exists, all of us play part in either expanding hatred or loving our neighbor, and despite what we see on the news, America is a great place, filled with kind people, always willing to help a neighbor in need,” Oliva said. “We must ask ourselves more than ‘what to do’ we must figure out, as leaders and as a society, ‘who we are.’ ”

When asked about Galvano’s directive in the Senate, Oliva’s spokesman, Fred Piccolo, said the speaker stood by his statement.

“He believes the solution to hatred, violence, and intolerance largely rests outside of politics,” Piccolo said.

Florida leaders reacted Monday after a lone gunman killed at least 22 people at an El Paso Walmart store Saturday in what the U.S. Justice Department is treating as a case of domestic terrorism. Early Sunday, at least 10 people, including the shooter, died in a separate incident in a Dayton entertainment district.

The shootings come after years of debate in Florida about gun-control issues, including whether to ban assault weapons. The Republican-dominated Legislature has rejected proposals by Democrats to ban the semi-automatic weapons.

A political committee Ban Assault Weapons NOW is trying to get a proposed ban on the November 2020 ballot.

“This weekend, we saw yet two more mass shootings in our country take the lives of 31 fellow Americans, with both shooters armed with military-grade assault weapons,” Gail Schwartz, chairwoman of Ban Assault Weapons NOW, said in a prepared statement. “These events highlight the harsh reality: These killings will continue to happen, here in Florida and across the country, until we take action and do what our elected leaders have failed to do. We must ban these weapons of war.”

After a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year, the Legislature approved a wide-ranging measure that required schools to have safety officers, bolstered mental-health services and upgraded protections through school “hardening” projects.

The law also raised the minimum age from 18 to 21 and required a three-day waiting period for purchasing rifles and other long guns. The increase in the minimum age to purchase long guns drew a still-pending legal challenge from the National Rifle Association.

In May, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation (SB 7030) that built on the 2018 bill. Among other things, it expanded the controversial school “guardian” program to allow armed classroom teachers, put $75 million into school mental-health services and strengthened reporting requirements for potentially threatening incidents that happen on school premises.

DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody on Monday pointed to a need to prioritize public safety.

Helen Ferre, a DeSantis spokeswoman, said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement a month ago formed a Law Enforcement Steering Group comprised of sheriffs and police chiefs to aid local law enforcement in protecting Floridians from “senseless acts of targeted mass violence.”

“Florida is the first state in the country to pursue such a comprehensive threat assessment strategy,” she said.

Moody said during a news conference in Jacksonville that everyone should be “horrified, shocked and saddened” by the recent attacks and more needs to be done to detect “those that are mentally deranged, that would seek to do us harm.”

Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley said on Twitter that “the ideology of white supremacy is evil.”

“It is the antithesis of what our country stands for and it offends God,” Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said. “It must be confronted aggressively so that it cannot metastasize further.”

Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, urged Floridians to back the 2020 ballot proposal to ban assault weapons. Backers of the proposed constitutional amendment still need to submit hundreds of thousands of petition signatures and get a key approval from the Florida Supreme Court before the issue could go to voters.

“Republicans in FL won’t act on our epidemic of gun violence,” Farmer tweeted.

The proposed constitutional amendment seeks to ban “possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device.” The measure, which would not prohibit handguns, includes an exemption for military and law-enforcement personnel “in their official duties.”

The proposal would allow people who already own assault weapons at the time the constitutional amendment goes into effect to keep them, if they register the guns with state law enforcement.

Moody is asking the Supreme Court to block the proposal from going on the ballot and reiterated Monday that she thinks the proposal’s wording is “misleading,” contending the proposal would ban possession of “about virtually every self-loading long gun.”

In his directive Monday, Galvano said the Senate will monitor “potential actions” that may be taken by the federal government, “which could impact our decisions and options at the state level.”

–Anna Ceballos, Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

19 Responses for “Florida Senate Will Study White Nationalism and Other Factors in Mass Violence”

  1. Dave says:

    The ban should include semi automatic HAND guns with magazines.

  2. JimBob says:

    That is like asking a skulk of foxes to advise on henhouse security. If you see (R.) it stands for racist.

  3. Mr. William R. White says:

    Don’t forget :

    Black nationalism

    Latino nationalism

    Muslim nationalism


  4. Willy Boy says:

    High-capacity magazines = more casualties. Violent video games = well disciplined shooters. Simulators – it’s how we train pilots, and they work.

  5. ConstantlyAmazed says:

    Was the Dayton shooter a “WHITE NATIONALIST “ ? Funny how there’s no real reporting on him. Is it because he was a ANTIFA SUPPORTER AND DIE HARD SOCIALIST BENT ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE UUS ACCORDING TO HIS MANIFESTO which he published on Twitter.

    Was the Parkland shooter a “WHITE NATIONALIST”?
    Was the Pulse shooter a “WHITE NATIONALIST” ?

    According to a Wikipedia entry listing the 25 deadliest MASS SHOOTINGS in the US only 2 are attributed to WHITE NATIONALISM
    Deadliest mass shootings since 1949
    Main article: List of mass shootings in the United States
    The following mass shootings are the deadliest to have occurred in modern U.S. history (1949 to present). Only incidents with ten or more victim fatalities are included.[64]

    dagger Was previously the deadliest mass shooting
    More information: Incident, Year …
    Incident Year Deaths Injuries Type of firearm(s) used Ref(s)
    1 Las Vegas shooting 2017 58 (plus 1 perp.) 851 (422 from gunfire) Semi-automatic rifles and revolver [65][66]
    2 Orlando nightclub shooting dagger 2016 49 (plus 1 perp.) 53 Semi-automatic rifle and pistol [65][66]
    3 Virginia Tech shooting dagger 2007 32 (plus 1 perp.) 23 (17 from gunfire) Semi-automatic pistols [65]
    4 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 2012 27 (plus 1 perp.) 2 Semi-automatic rifle and pistol [65]
    5 Sutherland Springs church shooting 2017 26 (plus 1 perp.)[fn 1] 20 Semi-automatic rifle [67][66]
    6 Luby’s shooting dagger 1991 23 (plus 1 perp.) 27 Semi-automatic pistols [65]
    7 El Paso shooting 2019 22 24 Semi-automatic rifle [68][69]
    8 San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre dagger 1984 21 (plus 1 perp.) 19 Semi-automatic carbine, pistols, and shotgun [65]
    9 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting 2018 17 17 Semi-automatic rifle [70]
    10 University of Texas tower shooting dagger 1966 16 (plus 1 perp. plus 1 victim who died in 2001[fn 1] 31 Rifles, revolver, pistols, and shotgun [65]
    11 Edmond post office shooting 1986 14 (plus 1 perp.) 6 Semi-automatic pistols [65]
    San Bernardino attack 2015 14 (plus 2 perps.) 24 Semi-automatic rifles [65][66]
    Fort Hood shooting 2009 14[fn 1] 32 (plus 1 perp.) Semi-automatic pistol and revolver [71][72]
    14 Camden shootings dagger 1949 13 3 Semi-automatic pistol [73][74]
    Wilkes-Barre shootings 1982 13 1 Semi-automatic rifle [75][76][77]
    Wah Mee massacre 1983 13 1 Semi-automatic pistol(s) and/or revolver(s)[fn 2] [78]
    Columbine High School massacre 1999 13 (plus 2 perps.) 24 (21 from gunfire) Semi-automatic carbine, semi-automatic pistol, shotguns [79]
    Binghamton shootings 2009 13 (plus 1 perp.) 4 Semi-automatic pistols [80]
    19 Aurora theater shooting 2012 12 70 Semi-automatic rifle, pistol, and shotgun [81][66][82]
    Washington Navy Yard shooting 2013 12 (plus 1 perp.) 8 Semi-automatic pistol and shotgun [83][84]
    Thousand Oaks shooting 2018 12 (plus 1 perp.) 25 Semi-automatic pistol [85][86]
    Virginia Beach shooting 2019 12 (plus 1 perp.) 5 Semi-automatic pistols [87]
    23 Easter Sunday massacre 1975 11 0 Semi-automatic pistols and revolver [88]
    Pittsburgh synagogue shooting 2018 11 6 (plus 1 perp.) Semi-automatic rifle, semi-automatic pistols [89]
    25 Palm Sunday massacre 1984 10 0 Semi-automatic pistols [90]
    Geneva County massacre 2009 10 (plus 1 perp.) 6 Semi-automatic rifles, revolver, and shotgun [91][92]
    Santa Fe High School shooting 2018 10 14 Shotgun and revolver [93]

    When reading the articles it seems that the one common factor most shooters had was MENTAL ILLNESS. TERRORISM was the other but the past administration downplayed that and the FBI allowed the shooters to fall through the cracks during the background investigation.

    It seems to me that since there was only 2 cases of WHITE NATIONALISM (one still being investigated) mass shootings out of the 25 deadliest as detailed by Wikipedia, it seems very irresponsible to immediately label a phenomena for POLITICAL ADVANCEMENT OR FUNDRAISING.

  6. OIF Vet says:

    And nothing will come of it… because they will refuse to address the real issue(s) at hand..

    Will they investigate where dads are? Why single motherhood is and has been soaring?
    Will they investigate over-use a/o abuse of drugs a/o prescription drugs?
    Will they investigate they breakdown of these individual’s family’s breakdowns?
    Will they investigate the many, many red flags missed by family and friends?
    While they are investigating “white supremacy,” will they also investigate the Black Panthers, Nation of Islam or Antifa?

    They don’t want any real answers… they want a dog and pony show for their voting base.

    The bottom line is… the vast majority of the time it is due to the breakdown in family. Somewhere there is abuse of the mother or drugs/ alcohol, divorce, parent’s refusal to discipline, etc.
    It is not the school’s job or the sheriff’s job to raise your kid. It is up to parents to be heavily invested in their children’s lives and even “snoop” a little to know what they are up to.

    No parent is perfect and neither is any family unit. But completely broken families are common in almost every single one of these terrible acts.

    But we can’t single out folks… you know because someone might call you racist of misogynistic or something.

  7. Art Schwartz says:

    This committee must get Tucker Carlson as their first witness. There will then be no more requirement for further study saving us mucho dinero.

  8. tom says:

    The Senate will hopefully

    1. Define what White Nationalism is. I am white and love my country. Does that make me an enemy?
    2. Define Black Nationalism and contrast it with White Nationalism.

  9. Virgil says:

    Are they going to study ” Black Nationalism ” to ? They can start in Chicago then over to L.A and don’t forget Detroit and Baltimore. And then work your way around to Memphis, New York City, etc.

  10. Sherry says:

    It currently is “White Nationalists” who are carrying out MASS MURDERS using assault weapons that are specifically designed to KILL MANY HUMAN BEINGS as rapidly as possible!

    While there is a big problem with gun violence in many of our cities, those crimes are NOT MASS MURDERS by “Black Nationalists”.

    Pointing the finger (as FOX says for the “unthinking” to do) and saying that crime in cities is just the same, or worse that MASS MURDER perpetuated as a HATE crime of “Domestic Terrorism” is nothing short of asinine!

  11. CB from PC says:

    Funny how Google Shopping returns no results for Confederate Flag, but pages for Antifa Flag.
    Yes, I am sick of mobs breaking the law toppling statues,
    So-called “educational institutions” violating First Amendment rights to a state a Conservative opinion, and discarding the rights of those who disagree with them.
    Most of all, the pathetic hypocrite Politicians, Reporters and
    Hollywood types who sanction mob violence with their silence.
    Oh yeah, gun control is fine as long as they have armed bodyguards in their gated communities.
    Trump has railed against illegal immigrants overtaxing multiple sectors if our system and sucking money away from our own citizens.
    That is not a White Supremacist.

  12. Michael Cocchiola says:

    And they will find no connection. Instead, they will connect mass murders to homosexuality, video games, lack of patriotism, poor parenting and, yes, mental health.

    Hey, if they decide it’s a mental health issue, will they then come to the conclusion that the courts cannot convict the shooter due to mental illness?

  13. Michael Cocchiola says:

    Hey, OIF… do you have any evidence, any studies, anything to back up your claim that “the vast majority of the time it is due to the breakdown in family”?

  14. OIF Vet says:

    Mikey.. yes I do. It is called reading further than the headline… and conducting further research after the story “goes away.” You should try it sometime.

    You may have to dig a bit… but the information is always there… mother/father/ family member or friend has seen red flags but did not report or did report but no follow up action was taken.
    Or history of some sort of abuse or another…
    Important to note you must weed out the “excuses” some use/ make up after the fact… whatever excuse may be.

    But you, and millions of others… create your complete opinions based on some sensational headline… But do you really dig deeper weeks or months later?
    You do know investigations take longer than the 24 hour news cycle don’t you? They take months and months.. and still many times, are not complete.

    Stop letting your favorite news station fill you full of trash for a week and then forgetting it ever happened.
    Do your research if you truly care.

  15. Sherry says:

    @Michael Cocchiola. . . those who blame everything on the “breakdown in the family” are just repeating FOX talking points., or maybe religious ones But, the common thread is meant to demean poor families (most often families of color) whose parent(s) often work 2 or 3 jobs to keep a roof over their heads.

    What is so very hypocritical in that point of view is that these same people are often the first ones to use the other FOX talking points that say that our taxes should NOT be used to help those same struggling families in any way.

    OK. . . let’s actually turn off FOX this morning and use our brains to “think” this through. So “those people”. ” “them”, “the other”. . . “they” should what? Come on OIF (and others), you can do it! Choose from the list below:

    1. Leave “our” (MAGA= white) country and go back to the “shit hole” country they came from. . . even if they were born here. UNCONSTITUTIONAL

    2. Be put in prison. We have incarcerated thousands of young black men and, therefore, have greatly accelerated the “breakdown of the family”. For profit prisons= $$$

    3. Get with God, so “they” can then “straighten up and fly right”. So, God will pay the rent? Yippee!

    4. Get “educated”. . . Taxpayer $$$ being systematically moved from “public” schools to “religious” and for profit “private” ones.

    5. Elect a black President. Done! Current administration systematically rolling back many good policies implemented by that President. Diminishing health care, clean air, clean water, etc.

    6. STOP Existing. . . Against the Laws of Nature.

    OK. . . now, OIF. . . which ones did you choose? OR, do you have a better idea? We would LOVE to hear it!

  16. Jim says:

    1-Not all Muslims are terrorist
    2-Not all white nationalist are mass shooters

  17. jake says:

    ‘The proposed constitutional amendment seeks to ban “possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device.”

    As I’ve said before, changing the definition doesn’t change the subject, an assault weapon is “a weapon designed to fire repeatedly by ONE pull of the trigger, as a machine gun”. These are FEDERALLY controlled and licensed, not for sale a Walmart or any other place of business.

    As such, most of you are ignorant of this subject, yet continue to comment. And as usual, I would be surprised if flaglerlive prints anything close to the facts. Pierre would rather print his opinion on a subject or let those that comment, be of the “left”, as that is what suits his fancy.

  18. Sherry says:

    WOW! So now it’s OK to be prejudice, bigoted, hate filled, racist, xenophobic. . . it’s all OK as long as you are not a murderer?

  19. Dave says:

    Jim, you are correct, but you should add one more

    3- all white nationalists are terrorists

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