Sheriff Scott Israel: “Pass Common Sense Gun Legislation Now”

Sheriff Scott Israel at his swearing-in ceremony in January. Photo courtesy BSO.

Sheriff Scott Israel at his swearing-in ceremony in January. Photo courtesy BSO.

A Message from Sheriff Scott Israel:

How many more innocent lives must perish before our legislators pass meaningful and common sense gun legislation? How many more tragic attacks like those at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Sandy Hook Elementary and the Pulse nightclub need to occur before rational thought prevails?

Broward mourns five more lives lost in a tragic mass shooting – especially as this one occurred in our own backyard. It should be clear to everyone that dangerous individuals like alleged airport shooter Esteban Santiago, who clearly demonstrated signs of mental illness, should never have been allowed to own a gun.

In fact, any person suffering from certain disqualifying mental illness should not be able to buy, possess or carry any type of firearm – period. The same applies to convicted felons and individuals who are on the federal government’s terrorist “no-fly” list. We shouldn’t be allowing people in these narrow categories to buy or carry firearms.

Let me be clear: gun control isn’t about restricting freedom or taking firearms legally obtained by law-abiding citizens.”

The statistics are telling. In just the last 12 months alone, 76 innocent victims died and scores more were injured due to U.S. mass shootings. Yet unbelievably, some argue arming more individuals is the solution. That goes for some legislators in Tallahassee, who appear more concerned about passing laws written by the gun lobbyists that would allow guns into classrooms and government meetings.

That dangerous line of thinking will only lead to further violence and bloodshed. As Sheriff of one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country, I understand public safety better than gun industry lobbyists and those elected officials who help advance their agenda. I can say with certainty that more guns are not the answer. Imagine the chaos if everyone at the airport was armed with a firearm. Countless individuals would certainly have been caught in the wild crossfire and hit by stray bullets.

One study which examined New York’s annual firearms discharge reports showed police officers hit their targets 34 percent of the time. The hit ratio was even lower at other agencies. If law enforcement officers who carry guns daily and regularly train are successful at hitting their targets at that rate, it is clear that ordinary citizens would be significantly less accurate.

It would also make the job of law enforcement far more difficult and divert them from the real threat. In such a stressful and chaotic situation, with shots being fired in all directions, how could we expect law enforcement to recognize the good guys from the bad ones?

The men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, local and federal law enforcement agencies and first responders did a phenomenal job rushing into a dangerous and chaotic situation. These heroes put their lives at risk to protect residents and visitors alike. We shouldn’t make it even more dangerous for them.

Let me be clear: gun control isn’t about restricting freedom or taking firearms legally obtained by law-abiding citizens. Instead, it is about common sense laws that help identify people with a history of criminal convictions, violence, certain high-risk mental illnesses or are on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. For years, I have been on the forefront in demanding common sense gun legislation, including closing the gun show loophole, reinstating the assault weapons ban and fighting against open carry laws.

It’s time our elected officials in Tallahassee and Washington finally do the same and tackle this life-threatening issue once and for all.

Sheriff Scott Israel

Certain Broward cities like Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Plantation, Davie, Miramar, Lauderhill and Coral Springs maintain their own police departments, however, BSO does provide communications and dispatch services to the following cities: Central Broward, Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Ft Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale. Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, West Park, Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Tamarac, Weston and unincorporated West Broward.

  • tom2

    Sheriff Israel is a very ignorant man. He should read more and talk less. First, mass shootings are not on the rise. They continue to occur at the same level as they have for years. Secondly, the laws worked precisely as intended — nobody returned fire because targeted establishments didn’t allow firearms. Thirdly, he seems to have missed the fact that most people have had it with liberals who believe it’s a good idea to disarm people in the face of rising foreign and domestic terrorism. He seems ignorant of the fact that more laws won’t reduce crime. He missed the fact that as firearm ownership and carry-licensing has skyrocketed, the murder rate has plummeted. I wonder if he knows the vast majority of sheriffs nationwide are opposed to his propaganda. And finally, he must have missed the fact the peaceable, lawful citizens already are saddled with 20,000 laws and are very, VERY reluctant to comply with more of them because most don’t work.

    • “Let me be clear: gun control isn’t about restricting freedom or taking firearms legally obtained by law-abiding citizens.”

      I guess it wasn’t clear enough for you. He doesn’t want to take guns away from law abiding citizens, just make sure that the mentally ill, or those suspected of terrorism, don’t have access to guns. Is that asking too much?

      • tom2

        Let me be clear. Gun control is precisely about restricting freedom and taking firearms legally obtained by law-abiding citizens. You and your leaders want to be the arbiters of who’s mentally ill, how it’s defined and where it’s registered. And the “no-fly” list? Again? Even Comey’s FBI opposed that stupid idea. The notion was short lived and has disappeared altogether because big media cannot make it helpful for the leftist movement.

        What’s missing from leftists is the data necessary to convince us that these laws will be effective. Instead of blindly accepting what leftists feed us, we need to start dealing with the real problem — not gun murders — just murders. Gun homicides are just part of the total reported murders per 100,000 population. In 1993 the number was seven. That number was reduced to 3.8 per 100,000 by 2013. Of 218 nations measured, the U.S. now ranks 98th, about in the middle. Stated another way, your chances of being murdered in the U.S. are 38 thousandths of a percent (.000038). In the U.K., your chances are .8 thousandths of a percent (.000008). That’s a difference of 30 thousandths of a percent, a very small number any way you look at it. Leftists often say your chances of being murdered in the U.S. are almost five times as great as in the U.K. But five times almost nothing is still almost nothing. By the way, over the last 20 years, crime among African-American youth has fallen by 47 percent. That should surprise no one because the vast majority of Americans live in open carry states where all categories of crime are at record lows. In other words this is a non-issue.

        When considering nations with lower murder rates, one also must consider the large number of murders by illegal aliens, a major factor in the U.S. and in no other place on earth. Factoring out the GAO’s latest estimate of 5,639 annual murders by illegal aliens, the U.S. murders per 100,000 would be reduced to 2.1. That number would place the U.S. well within the safest one-third of the world. Someone should tell Sheriff Israel that tinkering with a system that works may make matters worse.

        Voters are beginning to realize the scale here. The down side is far more than an inconvenience to some of our friends. Fact is it’s a colossal intimidation of an entire state population, particularly current firearms owners. Some even see our nation’s headlong gallop toward political leftism, aka socialism. They’re beginning to realize it’s a flimflam. Obviously, leftist forces in this nation have absolutely no interest in nuts, felons or even terrorists. They intentionally ignore the fact that 54 percent of America’s counties have no murders in any given year, while gun ownership rates there are higher than most other places. Universal registration, regardless of data, is their goal and they see it as their path to wealth and power. Voters seem to be catching on to the fact that registration is a long way beyond universal background checks.

        Leftists don’t give a hoot about the nuts and felons. What they really want is to keep tabs on transfers between mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors. They’re after inheritances, bequeathals and gifts. They’re also after the sales of inherited collections, however small they are. The goal is to disarm the public within one generation. New York, California, et al., already have begun by comparing death certificates to permits and taking guns from widows. They need to intimidate and control us because we’re the source of all the money. Blackstone nailed the bottom line when he affirmed, “The natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”

        The ideological chasm is widening because owners of firearms no longer trust the many organizations largely funded by Bloomberg to orchestrate more restrictive government regulation. Owners no longer trust the government to not stretch and parse the legislative intent to abuse peaceable, lawful armed citizens. Owners no longer trust gun control activists, inside and outside of government, to use the system fairly and expeditiously, within 72 hours when possible. The pinnacle of this problem is owners know from experience that these leftists will return soon howling for additional or more restrictive laws. And at the end, even a blind baboon knows access cannot be controlled without universal background checks. And universal background checks cannot be enforced without a universal registry. Reasonable people can learn this but not if they follow the leftist path. And at the end, this isn’t how we want our law enforcement officers to spend their time. Say goodbye Sheriff Israel.

        • Uhm the murder rate in this country in 2014 was 10.38. Funny how you left that out. In the UK it was 0.23. In Japan it was 0.06. And in India where the population is many times higher than here, it was 0.28.

          Doctors declare who is mentally fit or not. Who do you want to determine that, the NRA?

          The reason some gun owners don’t trust the government is because of the lies spread that the government is going after their guns. The Dems are going to take away the 2nd amendment. Do you know what it takes to repeal the 2nd amendment? Two-thirds of congress must agree just to have a convention! Then three-fourths need to agree to repeal. With the politicians on both sides getting money from the NRA, do you think that will happen. But people keep thinking that Obama or Hillary or any one politician will take their guns away.

          So your answer is just let EVERYONE HAVE GUNS? If someone is mentally ill just let that person carry. And you say universal background checks can help but the right and the NRA don’t even want that!

  • It is my understanding that the No Fly List has been found riddled with clerical errors; having had babies, young children, clergy, veterans, peace activists and other people that were not a danger show up on the list without any explanation or reason. Plus, would this not also count as being found guilty and stripped of constitutional rights without a fair and proper trial?

  • VietNamVet’68

    “One study which examined New York’s annual firearms
    discharge reports showed police officers hit their targets 34 percent of
    the time. The hit ratio was even lower at other agencies. If law
    enforcement officers who carry guns daily and regularly train are
    successful at hitting their targets at that rate, it is clear that
    ordinary citizens would be significantly less accurate.”

    Actually, most people with CCP/CWP practice more than Law Enforcement Officers, primarily because they don’t have the same budget restrictions. They are also often target shooters, competitive shooters,, hunters and/or military vets. FBI statistics show that the higher the number of CCP/CWP holders in an area, the lower the crime rate.

    • Maybe the public can also use these tax-funded ranges for free practice as well? This could calm the fear that The People are incompetent with certified, free and open training.

    • Here are but a few studies that rebut your claim:

      There are “no statistically discernible relationship between concealed carry policies and the public’s perceptions of the number of firearm carriers.” Since the supposed deterrent effect of concealed carry laws “assumes that potential assailants are aware of the distribution of firearm carriers in the potential victim population… the data suggest easing concealed carry cannot deter crime” (Fortunato, 2015)
      “Right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates” of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder. (Aneja, Donohue and Zhang, 2014)
      “No support to the hypothesis that shall-issue laws have beneficial effects in reducing murder rates” (Grambsch, 2012)
      At the city level, there is “no evidence that [right-to-carry] laws reduce or increase rates of violent crime” (Kovandzic, Marvell and Vieraitis, 2005)
      “A ‘shall issue’ law that eliminates most restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon may be associated with increased firearm homicide rates” (Rosengart et. al., 2005)
      “No statistically significant association exists between changes in concealed weapon laws and state homicide rates” (Hepburn, Miller, Azrael and Hemenway, 2004)
      “Changes in gun ownership are significantly positively related to changes in the homicide rate” (Ludwig, 2002)