PARKLAND (CBSMiami/CNN) – Frustrated by the lack action in the state Legislature to ban assault rifles after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High two weeks ago, Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell has decided to do something about it.
Campbell told CBS4’s Amber Diaz that he wants to leave the decision in the hands of the voters and he’s confident this change can and will be made.
“If I can put it on the ballot today I think it would pass with 80% [of the votes],” he said. “I think people are fed up. I think you are finally coming to the conclusion that yes, mental health issue is part of the problem but the gun is actually the cause of the devastation.”
The mayor said voters across the state should be the ones to make the decision. The measure, which would need 60 percent approval to pass, may be too late to get on the 2018 ballot.
Mayor Campbell spoke up at Wednesday’s commissioners meeting, saddened that legislature won’t move forward to ban assault weapons.
“Every mayor I talk to, every mayor, and there’s lots of them, I don’t have the exact number, feel that this is the time to do something,” Campbell said.
He’s now leading an effort with other state mayors to get an amendment to the state’s constitution to ban assault weapons.
That won’t be easy due to a 1987 law that was created to limit elected officials’ ability to make their own gun policies, followed by another law in 2011 that fines elected officials and even removes members from office if they try.
Instead of making a move as an elected official, he says he’s speaking out as a concerned citizen.
“The city of Coral Springs is not doing anything individual, this is being done by a number of mayors as individual citizens of the state of Florida and United States of America. Our kids need to be protected,” Campbell said.
Raul Valdes-Fauli, the mayor of Coral Gables, is taking one for the city and challenging the 2011 law.
The city attorney advised him against it. This was his response.
“I may be fined, I may be whatever, but I stood in principle to do this and so did the city of coral gables,” Valdes-Fauli said. “Remember Rosa Parks that’s at the front of the bus, remember Martin Luther King civil disobedience; we want to challenge the system to stop the murder of her children.”
Mayor Campbell says he wants to leave the decision in the hands of voters and while it’s too late to get it on this year’s ballot, he’s going to try for 2020.
Campbell says if he put banning assault weapons on the 2018 ballot, he’s confident it would be passed.
That’s why he got together with other mayors who care as much as he does.
City Commissioner Dan Daley also introduced an ordinance that would limit the sale and transfer of large capacity gun magazines in the City of Coral Springs.
This too goes against the 2011 law.
During Tuesday’s Broward County Commission meeting, several gun-related issues were brought up.
Commissioners voted to ask the county attorney to explore possible gun measures they could enact, to hire an independent agency to investigate the shooting and to create a task force to review the actions of agencies that responded to the shooting.
They also passed a resolution urging state and federal lawmakers to pass gun control measures, including restricting the sale of ammunition and gun modifiers, to ban assault weapons, to limit the number of firearms a person can own, and institute a universal background check. They also asked state lawmakers to provide funding to tear down and rebuild classrooms, and to create a memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Governor Rick Scott announced on Tuesday a $500 million investment in school safety, including metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks.
Meanwhile, with the last day of the state’s legislative session set for March 9, the clock is ticking for lawmakers facing pressure from citizens who want to see something change.
At least five Parkland-related bills are being debated before the Florida House and Senate appropriations committees.
On Tuesday, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill named for the school that gives law enforcement more power to seize firearms in cases of threats or potential danger. The committee voted down amendments to ban assault weapons, bump stocks and high capacity magazines — priorities for Parkland residents and their supporters. The bill advanced hours after the state House Appropriations Committee passed a similar measure.
Additionally, the committee voted down amendments creating a firearms registry and requiring that private sales of firearms must be done through a licensed dealer.
“If we had these measures in place, I would have not had to bury Alex,” said Max Schachter, whose son, Alex, was among the 17 killed.
“We need each of you to step away from politics and reach in as parents and grandparents,” he told lawmakers. “Let’s get something done today, you owe it to me.”
An amendment to create a program that offers voluntary firearms training to teachers and school staff made it through the committee to the disappointment of many in the audience.
In the House committee, a proposal allowing teachers the option to arm themselves failed, as did an amendment to ban assault weapons and to require mental health background checks for those licensed to carry a weapon.
A ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks did pass and will head to the House floor.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump will meet with key lawmakers to discuss gun reforms.
(©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)