A Committed Champion for Gun Safety Reform
On June 12th, 2016, a gunman walked into Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando and killed 49 people with a Sig Sauer MCX — a new age version of the AR-15. Our community was devastated by this tragedy and Carlos was deeply impacted by the shooting. That’s why the very first bill Carlos introduced after his election to the Florida House in 2016 was legislation to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines.
Carlos has been the lead sponsor in the Florida House of Representatives on legislation banning assault weapons and large capacity magazine every single year since 2016. On February 14, 2018, 17 people were killed by a gunman with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. In the immediate aftermath, students marched on our state capitol in Tallahassee which made headlines nationwide and launched the March For Our Lives movement. As they marched on Tallahassee students demanded bold action on gun safety and championed Carlos’s bill banning assault weapons as must-pass legislation.
Carlos is a national leader on gun violence prevention and has helped lead efforts by Florida Democrats to enact comprehensive gun safety reforms in Florida. He continues to stand with March For Our Lives and Parkland students leading the political movement of their generation, including during their repeated efforts to stop the arming of teachers and ban assault weapons.
Carlos understands that banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines is not the ‘end-all’ solution to the epidemic of gun violence. To make a real impact on reducing gun violence in our communities, a comprehensive approach is necessary. That’s why he’s co-sponsored and championed legislation to:
- Require universal criminal background checks on all gun purchases
- Expand red flag laws to allow family member intervention when someone threatens to harm themselves or others and prohibit firearm possession by domestic abusers
- Require universal background checks on all sales and transfers of ammunition (also known as “Jaime’s Law”)
- Strengthen gun storage laws
- Prohibit concealed weapons in child care facilities
- Repeal the state law preempting local firearm regulations by cities and counties
- Create and fund Gun Violence Intervention programs
- Create an Urban Core Gun Violence Task Force
- Repeal the Stand Your Ground Law
- Much more
An Unwavering Advocate for the Victims, Families, and Survivors of Pulse
Carlos understands the lasting impact the Orlando shooting has had on our community, especially LGBTQ Floridians, Black and Brown people, Puerto Ricans and first responders. That’s why he has made it his mission to #HonorThemWithAction by working to pass bold gun safety reforms, demand full equality under the law for LGBTQ people and ensure those impacted by the tragedy aren’t left behind or forgotten.
Since his election in 2016, Carlos has delivered a total of $3 million in funding (from appropriations bills he introduced) to UCF Restores PTSD clinic to expand their program and to provide direct services to veterans, first responders and mass shooting survivors from Pulse (and Parkland) struggling with PTSD. We are proud of Dr. Deborah Beidel and of the work her and her team do every day to help those with PTSD.
In 2019, Carlos joined forces with Rep. Anna V. Eskamani and Senator Victor Torres in an effort to seek state funding for the Orlando United Assistance Center (known as OUAC). OUAC is a resiliency center offering support, resources and hope exclusively for those impacted by the Pulse tragedy. When the expiration of federal funding for the center threatened to close its doors, Carlos requested and secured state dollars in the 2020 budget. Unfortunately, the legislation Carlos passed to help fund OUAC was vetoed by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Carlos also successfully led the multi-year effort to secure state funding for the Pulse Memorial and Museum honoring the legacy of the 49 angels taken on June 12, 2016 and creating a quiet space of reflection and remembrance for generations to come.
After years of advocacy, Carlos was able to arrange for Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis to make a public visit to the Pulse Nightclub site on the three-year remembrance of the tragedy in 2019. During his visit, the Governor made a pledge to approve the $500,000 that Carlos secured in state funding for the memorial and museum and to help Carlos reach his goal of securing $1,000,000 in total funding for the project. In 2020, Carlos filed legislation which ultimately secured $680,000 in additional funding. All told, Carlos’s budget requests signed into law by the Governor, delivered $1,180,000 in funding for the Pulse Memorial and Museum.