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Beyond Prayers: FL Advocates Call for Action after Orlando Massacre

While prayers and social media tributes are much appreciated by families and survivors of the Orlando nightclub massacre, many believe it isn't enough to prevent the next mass shooting incident.
While prayers and social media tributes are much appreciated by families and survivors of the Orlando nightclub massacre, many believe it isn't enough to prevent the next mass shooting incident.
June 14, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. - From vigils to social media tributes, there's no shortage of condolences for victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre and their families.

But many activists want to see the sadness and outrage turn to action before the next tragedy unfolds.

Lisa Labbe, communications director for the Florida National Organization for Women, believes there is much more lawmakers could be doing to help prevent another mass shooting, in addition to offering their thoughts and prayers.

"One of the things that we would like to see is closing the loopholes which gives easy access to assault weapons," says Labbe. "And we'd like the legislatures – certainly the Florida Legislature, if not nationwide – to address this issue immediately."

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others injured in the shooting at the Orlando nightclub Pulse. One day earlier, singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed at her concert in Orlando.

The League of Women Voters Florida and the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America are among many groups calling for legislative action in the wake of the shootings.

Investigators are still trying to determine what, if any, ties the nightclub gunman Omar Mateen had to radical Islam, but Labbe stresses this isn't the time to demonize any group or religion, Rather, she says, the focus should be on solutions to what she calls a "gun-violence epidemic."

"That does not mean the entire Muslim community, or the entire Muslim faith, is at all at fault," says Labbe. "There are other countries in the world who have these commonsense gun restrictions, and these kinds of attacks don't happen there."

This is the ninth mass shooting in 2016, and the 150th mass shooting since 2009, according to the group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL