A Peaceful Holiday Season: Let’s All Unite to Support Laws That Protect Innocent Lives

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

November 24, 2022

While the election season is finally finishing up, we can now take a pause and pray for a peaceful holiday season. Sadly, this past weekend we once again heard the news of a mass shooting at a night club that celebrates diversity and is known to cater to the LGBTQ community. Ironically this past weekend marked the memorial for individuals in the LGBTQ community killed due to their Identity, Transgender Remembrance Day. The gunman entered in the club killing five and injuring 25 before he was subdued by patrons. It is still not clear if this was a hate crime, but the shooter had an incident before over a bomb threat.

What a tragedy for Colorado Springs and the rest of our country. When will these senseless home-grown attacks stop? Colorado does have a new Red Flag Law that allows family members, doctors, and law enforcement to request a judge to remove guns from individuals deemed to be at risk of harming themselves or others.

Florida passed a Red Flag Law after the Parkland shooting. Since it was enacted there have been over 8000 individuals banned from owning or purchasing guns. It has been found that these laws are working around the state. This law was a partisan law that then Governor Scott touted as a great example of what can be done to address school violence and could be a blueprint for the nation. After it was passed the NRA filed a lawsuit and went after every Republican that supported it.

Even on the national level due to the NRA there has not been an ability to pass this and other common-sense rules. While we have these laws it goes back to the same thing, “If you see something, Say something. “We also need to speak up and support these laws.

I have a concealed weapons permit. I have had it for years. I was robbed at gun point in my home years ago. At that time my husband commuted, and I was at home alone weekly with the kids. After that horrific event we decided we both would apply for our concealed weapons permit. It empowered me to feel more secure in our home. If you had asked me before this if I would ever shoot or own a gun, I would have responded no.

A few years later we owned a retail franchise with another couple. At that time, we did not have all the online banking systems and quite often had to make cash deposits in drop boxes. At no time was I without my gun. We also went on long boating trips all across the Bahamian Islands. Out at sea on a large boat protection was essential, as you would never know who you may come across.

We are responsible gun owners. The super majority of owners are. It is those individuals that are irresponsible, mentally ill, and simply criminals that have caused most of the violence. I have lobbied since 2006 with Mayor Against Illegal Guns, now Everytown For Gun Safety. The genesis of these organization was a result of Congress not reinstating the assault rifle ban of 1994.

Without the ban many automatic weapons flooded our streets. It meant now criminals had easy access and our police departments could be out gunned by guns that were meant for war time. To this day I along with many individuals cannot imagine why we need these guns in our streets. And now as a society are seeing the results. Mass shooting.

The laws we are trying to enact are common sense. They address the ability to have access to guns which have detachable magazines and many gun loopholes. They address gun registrations of existing assault rifles and firearms. Since it was not reauthorized 37% of police departments reported an increase in shooting and mass fatalities.

While many are celebrating the election of a Republican majority, I am asking every Floridian to understand that these laws are critical to persever. Do not be fooled that it is an attack on our right to bear arms. It is all about NRA funded campaigns across the Nation. It is about money and business.

Over this holiday let’s all unite to support laws that protect innocent lives. Too many families are sitting around their tables without loved ones.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

As always, feel free to reach out to me with your questions, concerns and ideas to make our City a better place! I can be reached 24/7/365 at my Office Number: (954) 457-1318. On my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. Or E-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org