Vero Beach, FL – William C. Evans, Chair of the Democratic Executive Committee of Indian River, released the following statement in response to the Jacksonville, Florida mass shooting incident where a gunman wearing a tactical vest used a swastika covered AR-15 and a handgun to kill one Black woman and two Black men in a hate motivated attack on Saturday, August 26th, 2023.

“Today’s mass shooting in Jacksonville has left more Florida families heartbroken and traumatized. Our hearts are with the families, community members, first responders, and local and federal law enforcement officers who have been impacted by our country’s 472nd mass shooting incident this year. 

Five years ago to the day, a gunman shot and killed two people and injured another ten before killing himself during a video game tournament at Jacksonville Landing. Sadly, this day now marks an additional deadly and preventable mass shooting incident in our state.

Last year, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law which provides States with $250 million in funding to implement community violence intervention and prevention initiatives. This law also provides States with funding to implement extreme risk protection order (ERPO) programs and other crisis intervention programs. 

Forty-six states, four US territories and Washington DC applied for and were awarded funding under this program. However, Florida’s Governor DeSantis neglected to apply for and was subsequently not awarded this federal funding for FY22-FY23, despite the fact that gun death rates in Florida are among the highest in the nation.

We urge our state and federal leaders and lawmakers to respond with more than thoughts and prayers. 

Democrats of Indian River call on Governor DeSantis to immediately take steps to apply for the Department of Justice Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (Byrne SCIP) funding by immediately establishing a ​​Crisis Intervention Advisory Board.

Democrats of Indian River call on Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio to cosponsor S.25, The Assault Weapons Ban of 2023. We also call on the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Dick Durbin, to lead the effort to pass the Federal Assault Weapons in his committee and we implore Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to schedule a full floor vote on Senator Feinstein’s bill, S.25. Americans deserve to know which Senators continue to support arming mass shooters with weapons of war. 

Democrats of Indian River call on all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign the discharge petition filed by Representative Lucy McBath for HR698, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2023.

We have the right to live without getting shot by gunmen with weapons of war in any public spaces. And the American people strongly support action on our gun violence crisis and gun violence prevention laws that will keep their family members alive.”