Three months ago our son Jerry, along with 48 other innocent people, was killed in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. For years, we’ve watched other parents publicly mourn their children killed or injured by gun violence, but never anticipated we’d join their heartbreaking club.
With Election Day rapidly approaching, we’ve had to ask ourselves an important question: Which candidate will join us in our fight to prevent gun violence here in Florida? We are lifelong Republicans, and we’re committed to supporting candidates who show support for sensible, gun safety measures. In our hometown of Miami, we’re fortunate to have found a gun-sense champion in Republican state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla.
For two years, Diaz de la Portilla used his position as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to block two dangerous bills that would have threatened public safety in our state. After meeting and listening to university presidents, students and professors, Diaz de la Portilla declined to hear a bill that would allow concealed handguns on Florida college and university campuses. In a similar fashion, the senator met with law enforcement leaders before opposing a bill that would allow the open carry of handguns in public, noting the dangers officers would face on the job if the bill ever became law.
A month after Jerry’s death, we went to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers to ask them what many Americans wanted to know: What will they do to prevent gun violence? It’s a question we’ll continue to ask to honor Jerry and the 91 Americans who are killed by gun violence every day.
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Our Jerry was brave and strong. Now we have to be brave for him. We urge you to join us this November in supporting gun-sense candidates like Sen. Diaz de la Portilla. Together, we can elect leaders who will put the safety of our children and communities first.
Fred and Maria Wright, Miami