Florida state senator: Only ‘thoughts and prayers’ will stop evil behind shootings

A Florida state senator said the only thing that is going to stop “the evil” behind mass shootings is to send “thoughts and prayers.”

During a debate on a proposed assault weapons ban in the Florida legislature on Saturday, state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R) said she finds it offensive when people tell her that the kind words are not enough to stop mass shootings. 

“When we say ‘thoughts and prayers,’ it’s frowned upon. And I take real offense at that because thoughts and prayers are really the only thing that’s gonna stop the evil from within the individual who is taking up their arms to do this kind of a massacre.” 

{mosads}It’s not the weapon that matters, Stargel said, but rather “the evil from within” that causes people to commit heinous crimes. 

“But are we going to ban fertilizer, which is what they used in the Oklahoma bombing?” Stargel asked. “Are we going to ban pressure cookers, which is what they used in the Boston massacre? Are we going to ban the multiple handguns that were used in other assaults? Are we going to ban the sawed-off shotgun as what was used in Columbine?” 

The assault weapons ban was briefly accepted and then rejected by a 21-17 vote during a rare Saturday session. The bill comes after an AR-15 assault rifle was used to kill 17 people on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

Stargel said she is putting forth a comprehensive plan for gun control that would include raising the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21 and proposing mental health checks for individuals with threatening behavior. 

Mass shooters could be caught early and it was up to “try and change the trajectory of their life when they’ve come from a broken home or whatever situation that they’ve had to help them not have the desire to do these kinds of acts,” Stargel said. 

The plan would also look at arming teachers, something that a Florida House Appropriations Committee has already approved and other states like Michigan are proposing. 

But none of these actions will be as effective as “thoughts and prayers,” Stargel said. 

“In my opinion, the one thing that will actually change this the most, is the one thing that has become fighting words, which is to say ‘thoughts and prayers.’ So that’s something I’m gonna continue to add to my comprehensive plan so we can hopefully stop the evil that is happening from within our world.” 

The saying, which has become the frequent response from lawmakers following shooting tragedies, has drawn criticism from those pushing for tougher gun laws. 

Tags Federal Assault Weapons Ban Florida Florida Republicans gun violence Kelli Stargel Mass shooting School shooting thoughts and prayers Violence

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