For Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, the anguish of Florida’s worst school shooting remains raw. Families are still burying some of the 17 students and faculty members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, victims of a deeply troubled ex-student armed with an AR-15 rifle.
For Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates, the scars are six years old but still deep. He headed the police department in Aurora, Colorado, when a mentally ill killer armed with an AR-15 rifle killed a dozen and injured 70 others in a movie theater.
These two South Florida law enforcement leaders want more gun control:
First, they want AR-15 rifles out of the hands of civilians. Second, they argue that lenient state and national gun laws and mental health privacy laws are hampering the mission of police to keep the public safe from gun violence, prohibiting officers from confiscating weapons — often even from people who have produced a trail of warnings like accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz.
They’re not alone among top state law enforcement officers calling for lawmakers to tighten gun control. Florida Police Chiefs Association Kevin Lystad, Chief of the Miami Shores Police Department, told the Miami Herald his organization plans to offer gun legislation to state lawmakers in the coming weeks.
“Congress messed up when they didn’t renew the assault weapons ban [in 2004]. I think that was problematic,” Lystad said. “We need to deal with assault weapons, background checks. It’s about finding common ground.”
One immediate change that Oates and Israel want to see: Ban the legal sale of the AR-15s used in both massacres. “In only one condition should you have an assault rifle, if you’ve joined the Marines and you’re going to fight,” Israel said.