Target: Governor Rick Scott, Governor of Florida
Goal: Halt Florida’s aggressive program of granting concealed weapon carry permits to non-law enforcement civilians.
On February 26, 2012, a neighborhood watch coordinator in a gated community in Sanford, Florida pursued, allegedly fought, and then fatally shot a seventeen-year old boy through the heart. Despite instruction from a police dispatcher not to give chase, George Zimmerman, emboldened by the semi-automatic pistol in his waistband, pursued Trayvon Martin, which quickly led to the confrontation that ended Mr. Martin’s life. The police arrived on the scene just minutes after the fatal shot was fired.
In a separate 2012 incident, seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis was shot and killed by Michael Dunn at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. A dispute erupted over loud music which led to a verbal altercation and subsequently Dunn firing multiple shots into the car in which Davis was sitting, claiming he had seen an as-of-yet unrecovered shotgun pointed in his direction. The phrase ‘you’re not going to talk to me like that…’ was apparently uttered by Dunn as he reached for his weapon.
Both of these incidents involve an adult white male shooting and killing a black teenage male after claiming to have felt threatened. That being said, the reason these incidents occurred should not be blamed on race nor the now-infamous Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, which allows citizens to ‘meet force with force’. Instead, these boys are dead because of Florida’s lax distribution to non-law enforcement personnel of permits to carry concealed weapons. Had George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn not felt emboldened and adrenalized by the weapons that they both legally possessed on their person, it is likely that both Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis would still be alive today.
George Zimmerman was found not guilty on the charge of murdering Trayvon Martin, and Michael Dunn is currently awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges for the death of Jordan Davis. Neither of these men should have been able to draw a weapon, and neither would have been able to do so if Florida had a strict definition of who is allowed to carry a concealed firearm. Please sign the petition below to ask the State of Florida to enforce stricter gun laws and reduce the number of conceal weapons permits issued to civilians immediately.
Dear Governor Scott,
Last year in the state of Florida there were two highly publicized deaths of teenage boys that involved civilians who legally carried guns. Had these gun holders not had the false courage of their weapons, it is likely that neither conflict would have resulted in death.
The state of Florida currently maintains the most active concealed weapon permits program in the nation. The abundance of guns in the state leads to the unnecessary escalation of disputes or disagreements and can easily result in fatalities that would otherwise simply not occur. I am writing to you and other Florida state legislators to demand the immediate implementation of stricter permit requirements and to limit the number of concealed carry permits given out to civilians.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: AP via Wikimedia Commons