Orlando activists unite against assault weapons, call for ban

click to enlarge Orlando activists unite against assault weapons, call for ban
Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
In the wake of the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse that killed 49 people and injured 53, activists in Orlando rallied on the steps of City Hall on Thursday for a ban on assault weapons. 

Carlos Navarro, who organized the protest and founded the group, is also a cohost at "Monsters In The Morning" on Real Radio, 104.1 FM. After the Pulse shootings, "enough is enough," he says. 

"We're not going to stop," he told a chanting crowd. "We're going to keep fighting and we're going to get assault weapons and high-capacity magazines banned." 

The protest was joined by city Commissioner Patty Sheehan, state Sen. Darren Soto and state Rep. Victor Torres. Sheehan says she owns a gun that has saved her life during a house burglary but the kinds of weapons used at Pulse and other mass shootings shouldn't be available to the public because they're designed to be used in warfare. She adds that many families of the Pulse victims could not hold open-casket funerals for their loved ones because of the damage done to their bodies. 

"I fully agree with the Second Amendment," she tells the crowd. "But it says the right to bear arms and the right to a milita, not the right to mass murder...The bullets blow holes in people and shatter bones. It is a gun that belongs in the hands of the military or law enforcement." 

Sheehan called U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. John Mica "cowards" for voting against legislation that would have banned people on the terror watch list from buying assault weapons. She also took a firm stance against the gun industry and the NRA, calling it the "National Right to Murder" association. 

"I could not stomach the endless parade of spineless cowards who came to my city to say this is not the time to talk about guns," she says. "They stood in the victims’ blood while they said it. They would prefer that we simply hold moments of silence for the victims...I will be silent no more.”
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