Gun Violence

Gun violence isn't a problem unique to South Florida, but it is South Florida's problem. Gun-related injuries are one of the leading causes of death in the state. And there are even more people who survive bullets.

WLRN is committed to telling the stories of what happens when people are harmed by guns. We do this through continuous coverage of issues and protagonists, as well as by long-term, special projects.

Some of our recent projects:

You can also see our continuous coverage below.

After the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, gun control is again at the forefront of the political conversation.

President Trump has expressed openness to a federal red flag law and for "meaningful" background checks.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will discuss measures aimed at addressing gun violence in September. He said he expects background checks, assault weapons and "red flag" laws to be part of the debate.

"What we can't do is fail to pass something," McConnell told WHAS radio in Kentucky, adding, "the urgency of this is not lost on any of us."

Sophia Cai / WLRN News

Over 50 South Florida residents gathered Tuesday evening at the Freedom Tower to honor the victims of mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH and protest the lack of legislative change on the local and national level. 

The two mass shootings, in less than 13 hours, shook the nation and South Florida, who's still grappling with its own tragedy at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Some died trying to protect a loved one or newborn baby from a hail of bullets. Others were killed alongside their spouse as they made routine weekend purchases. Parents were slaughtered while doing back-to-school shopping.

Stories of self-sacrifice, heroism and devastating loss are emerging following the gun massacre on Saturday that killed at least 22 people who came from both sides of the border to a Walmart store in the predominantly Hispanic city of El Paso, Texas.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

President Trump visited survivors of the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday before heading to El Paso, Texas, the site of the weekend's other deadly violence. Trump remained out of public view during the Dayton stop.

On the ground in El Paso, Trump said, "We had an amazing day."

"The love, the respect, for the office of the presidency, it was — I wish you could have been in there to see it," he told reporters.

Updated at 4:48 p.m. ET

The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into last month's mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, after discovering that the shooter had a list that may have indicated potential targets of violence.

The National Rifle Association's sway in the nation's capital may be waning at a time when two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas are reigniting the debate about enacting new gun restrictions.

In the past few months, the gun rights group's president stepped aside; its top lobbyist resigned; and allegations of financial misconduct at the highest levels of the group have burst into the open.

In his response Monday to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump called for an expansion of state laws that temporarily prevent someone in crisis from buying or possessing a gun.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story that was published on Nov. 9, 2018.

The United States has the 28th-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world: 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 — far greater than what is seen in other wealthy countries.

When it comes to Florida’s gun laws, there is a struggle happening between state and local governments.

The "preemption statute" that was originally passed in 1987 forbid local governments from passing gun control legislation. However, there were not harsh penalties for breaking the law.

But in 2011, the statute was changed to include punishments for local leaders who introduce gun legislation in their communities.

Those leaders face a $5,000 fine and potential removal from office.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

Two children — a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl — and a man in his 20s were killed when a gunman with a rifle opened fire and sprayed bullets seemingly at random Sunday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California.

"Any time a life is lost, it's a tragedy. But when it's young people, it's even worse," said Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee, at what was at times an emotional news briefing Monday.

CHARLES TRAINOR JR. / MIAMI HERALD

Former North Miami Police officer Jonathon Aledda avoided a prison sentence Wednesday in the 2016 shooting of an unarmed black man caring for an autistic child with a toy truck police said resembled a gun.

Aledda, who was fired Tuesday, was sentenced to one year of administrative probation, 100 hours of community service and must write a 2,500-word essay on communication and weapon discharges.

Judge Alan S. Fine also ruled to withhold adjudication in the case, meaning Aledda’s conviction will not appear on his criminal record.

Could Florida Become A 'Beacon Of Hope' For The LGBTQ Community?

Jun 16, 2019
Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Three years after the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQ people in the history of the country, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, activists across the state are encouraged by what they say are positive steps forward for Florida’s LGBTQ community. 

In spite of significant challenges, including from conservative lawmakers who hold the majority of seats in the statehouse, a federal memorial is in the works at the site of the shooting in Orlando. And this week, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis voiced his support for the gay community. 

Jose A. Iglesias / Miami Herald

Sybrina Fulton understands what it means to lose someone to gun violence. In 2012, her 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a nightwatch officer in Sanford, Florida.

Elected leaders are scheduled to announce Monday at Pulse plans for legislation that would designate the nightclub as a national memorial site. 

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