After the Verdict: “Where do we go From Here?” Real Gun Control


Atlanta Vigil for Trayvon Martin. Courtesy

We are still shocked, heartbroken and aghast at the criminalization of Trayvon Martin and acquittal of a known violent man. Instead of stewing let’s use our pain as the momentum for activism. This is the third of a multi-part series that addresses the question on everyone’s mind: “Where do we go from here?”

How was a man with a pattern of violent behavior and record of mental illness allowed to possess a weapon and conceal it? How is he still allowed these rights?

As of last November, Florida has issued almost one million concealed weapon permits. In a state where violent crime has been on the decline since the early 90s, it is curious that Florida’s citizens arm themselves in excess.  Perhaps they do it because of how easy it is.  A concealed weapon permit in Florida costs less than a used bike. If background checks were as discriminate as Florida’s justice system, then perhaps Zimmerman’s gun wouldn’t have been the last thing Trayvon Martin saw before his untimely death. Background checks are done in less than one minute at the register before purchase. Florida’s background checking system has already come under scrutiny for being largely unenforced in private sales.  In a state that’s issued an unprecedented 300,000 permits in the first three months of this year, we need to act now.

Congress is struggling to extend background checks for weapon permits, activists are asking that Florida government repeal the Stand Your Ground law and Zimmerman’s firearm license while others are actively seeking to arm him. Here’s what you can do: start by signing this petition to revoke his gun ownership right and actively supporting the Dream DefendersCoalition to Stop Gun Violence, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.  These are just a few organizations that will point you in the right direction towards anti-gun violence activism in your local hood.

by Shannon Shird

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