Gun bill supporters: 'Gun violence is a public health crisis'

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 6:01 PM EDT

Mayra Alvear is suffering with what happened at Las Vegas.

Like relatives of the Vegas Strip shooting victims, she, too lost a loved one to a mass shooting: Her daughter, Amanda Alvear, died in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

“My heart is bleeding for them. My heart is broken,” Alvear said Tuesday, where a news conference was held to support the refiling of legislation that would ban assault-style weapons and large capacity magazines in Florida.

“I am so angry, I am so hopeless, I am so impotent,” she said. “I am sorry that this happened to you," she said to the Vegas families. "I am so sorry that America let you down.”

State lawmakers again have proposed bills that ban assault style weapons: Senate Bill 196 and House Bill 291. The bills were proposed and assigned to committees after the Pulse attack but were never given a hearing.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis, and we have to talk about it,” Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said Tuesday at the Orange County Courthouse in downtown Orlando. State Sen. Linda Stewart also spoke at the event.

The bills would restrict what weapons can be purchased and how they can be altered.

Brian Alvear, Amanda's brother, said, “It’s just common sense. You don’t need a gun that can take out 60 people — ever, for anything. That’s just logic.”

Alvear said the latest massacre has opened up old wounds. Although nothing can bring back Amanda, Mayra Alvear she said she won’t stop fighting until something is done to stop gun attacks.

“I will fight. I will go to whatever I have to go to keep putting the word out there that it’s not about the Second Amendment, it’s about public safety,” she said.

The lawmakers at the rally Tuesday are hoping to have the discussion on guns at the upcoming session in Tallahassee.


State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith speaks during a news conference in Orlando on Wednesday held by lawmakers and a coalition of groups to announce they'll bring back proposed legislation to ban assault-style weapons in Florida. (Spectrum News 13)