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.

  • 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?

    https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/watchlist_briefing_paper_v3.pdf

  • 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.