Commissioner Holness adamantly supports ban on ARs

Garth A. Rose

Broward County Commissioner, Dale Holness

Broward County Caribbean-American Commissioner Dale V. Holness is adamant that action should be taken to ban assault rifles in Florida and nationally.

Reacting bluntly in an interview with CNW, Commissioner Holness asked, “Why do we needs ARs in the society? America is not at war. America is not at risk at being invaded by a foreign force as back in the 18th century.”

When 2nd Amended was ratified there were no ARs.

He said he’s wary of those who support the general sale and use of ARs turning to the 2nd Amendment in the US Constitution to defend their argument. “The 2nd Amendment do support the right for every American to bear arms. But amendment was ratified in 1791.  Its main purpose was to assure people could protect themselves against counter invasion by foreign forces. But, perhaps the most dangerous weapon at the time was a musket, which one fired once, and reloaded. Certainly, the founding fathers did not envisage a rifle that could shoot over a hundred bullets with one pull of the trigger. An AR is a weapon of modern war, and a weapon of murder that should be banned from our society.”

He cited a vote taken last week by the Broward County Commission to ban the assault rifle but believes the ultimate effectiveness against the sale and legal use of these rifles rest with the Florida Legislature.

Florida Legislature vote against banning ARs

However, over the past weekend although the Florida Senate met in an all-day Saturday session, and initially adapted a motion to ban assault rifles, the motion was later defeated.

Power to change lies with the people

“That was very disappointing,” Holness said. “But the power to ultimately ban these deadly weapons rest in the people. The Florida Legislature may be controlled by the NRA, and related lobbyists, but the people need to turn out in droves to vote against anyone who takes money from the NRA or NRA lobbyists. The people are more powerful than the NRA, and the people should use this power.”

As an elected official Holness says he wants to see: a comprehensive ban on assault rifles; ban on access to guns by the mentally ill, those on ‘no-fly’ lists, and to young people age-18 and under. He also says he’s “fundamentally” against any proposals that allows school personnel to have guns in schools. “I only support law enforcement having guns on school campuses.”

“But I must reiterate the call for banning ARs. These weapons are more lethal than weapons carried by law enforcement. Why should we allow citizens to bear arms more powerful than the arms generally borne by law enforcement officers?”

Florida coalition against arming school personnel

Meanwhile a Florida coalition including, the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and the League of Women Voters of Florida issued a statement on Monday, denouncing any  the bill (SB 7026) passed by the Florida Senate that includes a provision to arm public school officials as way to defend against a mass shooting. The Coalition expressed opposition to “arming people in our schools that are not School Resource Officers (SROs), whose ONLY job is to protect the school, will not properly protect our schools and will ultimately cost more money in the long run.”

Senate Daphne Campbell vote against bill

Haitian American Florida Senator Daphne Campbell, a Democrat, voted against Senate Bill 7026. She said  she heeded the calls from her constituents in voting against the bill, which she called, “a horrible blow to schoolteachers, students and families across the state of Florida…..It’s unconscionable that rather than talking about things like teacher raises and more funding to help prevent bullying in our public schools, we’re being asked to back armed teachers and diverting public school funding – neither of which I can accept.”

Robert Runcie, the superintendent of the Broward County School District also opposes arming teachers and other school personnel with guns. He said the District has a zero-tolerance weapons policy, emphasizing the District take weapons infractions very seriously, “and there are no exceptions.”

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