Gay Representative Introduces Gun Control Bill

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Carlos Guillermo Smith is wasting no time wielding his new power.

Smith, the first openly LGBT Latino elected to the Florida House of Representatives, announced on Thursday his intention to file a gun control bill when lawmakers return to Tallahassee in March.

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“Assault weapons are the gold standard for mass murder,” said Smith at a news conference on the steps of the Orange County Courthouse. “They are weapons of war, designed for war and have no place on our streets or in civilian hands. We all have a constitutional right to defend ourselves and our families with a firearm, but nobody needs military-style assault weapons to do it.”

At Thursday’s news conference, Smith was joined by Florida Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando), survivors of the Pulse Nightclub massacre and various gun control groups. The proposed legislation (HB 167, SB 254) restricts the sale and transfer of assault weapons and large capacity magazines in Florida.

Meanwhile, not all who identify as LGBT are supportive of Smith’s bill. Scott Herman, a Democratic precinct committeeman from Broward County, called the proposal “overreaching.”

“I see it as an invasion of privacy with a ridiculous definition of large capacity even for a handgun,” said Herman, a disabled combat veteran.

HB167 defines large capacity magazines as “any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than seven rounds.” The bill specifically targets the Sig Sauer MCX rifle used at the Pulse massacre and Bushmaster XM15-E2S used at Sandy Hook.