Florida police chiefs have called for a semi-automatic weapons ban in the wake of last week’s deadly Parkland shooting, but recent polls show fewer and fewer Americans supporting such a ban.
“In only one condition should you have an assault rifle, if you’ve joined the Marines and you’re going to fight,” Israel told the Herald. “Based on the law, if someone [who has weapons] says I want to grow up and be a serial killer, there’s nothing you can do about it. We can’t arrest for something a person is thinking about.”
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Florida lawmakers killed the state’s weapons ban in 2004, and support for such bans has plummeted ever since. Even mass shootings like the one that claimed the lives of 17 people in a Florida high school last week seem to have little effect. Polling after the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017 put support for AR-15 weapon bans at 50 percent, lower than the 51 percent of 2016, according to the Post.
Gun rights advocates claim the Florida shooting was the result of law enforcement incompetence rather than lax gun laws. The FBI was alerted of the suspect twice in the months before his shooting, once via a YouTube comment in September 2017 and again via a tip from someone close to the suspect in January. The FBI investigated the YouTube comment but was unable to find a connection, and failed to notify local authorities to the suspect following the January tip, despite the suspect’s unstable mental history.
“We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. It’s up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly,” said FBI Director Chris Wray.
The FBI’s fumble is only the latest in an agency trend of missing mass shooters until it’s too late. The agency similarly dropped the ball before mass shootings in Orlando, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., among other mass murders.
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