Margaret Good (FL-16), "Gun Violence"

I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe my feelings over the past week.

Like so many members of our community, I am heartbroken, angry, and scared by the tragedies that unfolded in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. We lost another 34 mothers, fathers, children, friends, and loved ones — to senseless and hate-driven gun violence.

But most of all, I’m frustrated because Floridians are all too familiar with these feelings. Why was Pulse, Parkland, and the Tallahassee yoga studio murders not enough to get our leaders to act? For that matter, why wasn’t Sandy Hook enough?

February 14, 2018 is a day I’ll never forget. It was supposed to be a day of celebration. The night before, we won the special election for Florida House District 72 and early that afternoon, I took the oath of office on the House floor. But there was no celebration.

Moments after I was sworn in, I watched the news of the Parkland shooting unfold from my colleague’s laptop: 17 students killed in the deadliest school shooting in our nation’s history.

That week students, parents, survivors, advocates, and concerned citizens from all across the state, reeling from our community’s collective trauma, descended on the capitol, confronting lawmakers, demanding they take action.

Their thundering chants and painful cries just outside the doors of the legislative chamber reverberated as they, and the rest of the world, looked to us to take action.

I watched the image of our students walk out of the school with their hands held over their heads play on loop on the news stations. I listened to families mourning the loss of their sons and daughters, and friends mourning the loss of their fellow students and teachers. And I could, almost physically, feel the weight of the problem and of the work that lay in front of us. I still do.

Over the following weeks, I listened to my colleagues talk about gun violence, not just in terms of mass shootings, but with the familiarity of men and women who have first-hand experience living in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence. I listened to my constituents voice their concerns about gun violence and about solutions.

And, I cast every vote and gave every speech on the Florida House floor with the end goal of ensuring this tragedy never happens again.

That included bringing an amendment that would have required universal background checks on all firearm purchases.

There is a bill waiting in the U.S. Senate to do exactly that. Friends, this is critical legislation that will curb gun violence and make our communities safer, but, as we saw in the Florida House, the leadership continues to block our common sense efforts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the power to bring that bill to a vote and because of him, it’s currently sitting in his legislative graveyard.

This is a matter of life and death. While so many of our leaders refuse to take action, I’m stepping forward. Our lives are on the line. It’s why I’m running for Congress, and why I need your help today.

We need to honor with action the innocent lives we lost in Parkland, Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, and every day on the streets of this country. I hope you’ll stand with me.
— Margaret Good