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Crime Prevention Task Force calling on the legislature to revoke permitless carry

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-18 18:12:44-04

According to the Tallahassee Police Department, 28 people have been injured in shooting incidents so far this year. With the three most recent incidents all happening in the Capitol City in the last month.

Faith leaders and community advocates are worried these numbers will only increase after the permitless carry bill became law July 1st. Now, they're asking local officials to take a stand.

The Task Force is now calling on the Leon County Legislative Delegation to revoke the permitless carry law that went into effect in Florida on July 1st. This is their latest effort in finding solutions to the gun violence problem in Tallahassee; something they've been working on for 15 months now.

"It pains me to read stories of people who have been shot and killed," said Reverend RB Holmes.

In addition to monthly meetings, they also host prayer vigils at the sites where these shootings happen. However, Chair of the Task Force Reverend RB Holmes said it's time for them to do more than just talk about the problem.

"We need to tell our legislators that Florida must not be the model that celebrates a culture of killing," said Holems. "Can we stop it? If we could save one life."

The new law, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis during the recent special legislative session, allows legal gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a permit or proper training. Holmes believes this will only increase the amount of shootings in Tallahassee and that county officials should take a stand against it.

I asked Senior Program Director for Florida State University's Center for the Advancement of Human Rights Mark Schlackman if local officials even have the authority to revoke something from the legislation. He said; "generally local governments have very limited if any discretion when a state law is passed."

However, Holmes said it's a way to draw more attention to the issue.

"We need to have more compassion for these young people who are dying daily across the state of Florida," said Holmes. "So it may not get anywhere, but it is a moral call."

The Task Force is doing more than just calling on the legislature. They're also partnering with other organizations in the community to take a more holistic approach to the problem.

"It's really going to take a village," said Holmes. "The church, mental health agencies, research agencies, community leaders, faith based leaders."

Even though they may have lost the battle over permitless carry, Holmes believes they're going to win the war against gun violence.

"We're going to make a difference. Will it happen overnight? No. We did not get into this situation overnight, but it's going to take persistency, prayer, patience," said Holmes.

Holmes said their statewide faith leaders coalition is planning to call on the state legislature next month to reconvene and revoke the permitless carry law.