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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 9 months ago

Ormond Beach residents team up for gun control advocacy during Rubio office hour service

A representative from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's office heard concerns from about 35 locals.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

In wake of the two most recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, about 35 residents decided to voice concerns regarding gun control during scheduled U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's mobile office hours at the Ormond Beach Senior Center on Thursday, Aug. 8.

Residents, several of which were holding signs reading slogans like "Tell the grim reaper to stop the slaughter," "We want gun control" and "Do it," were told to go in individually to speak with a representative from Rubio's office, and were handed a raffle ticket to act as their placeholder in line. Ormond Beach resident Rita Press said the time and place for the mobile office hours was spread through social media, and it took a day and a half to organize a group to attend. 

Linda Kalaydjian, Jerry Lapidus, Rita Press and Patricia Dunn during Sen. Marco Rubio's mobile office hours on Thursday, Aug. 8. Photo by Jarleene Almenas

She hoped Rubio's representative would have addressed them as a group in an "orderly way," instead of making them wait in a line out in the summer heat. After about a half-hour, city staff and Ormond Beach Police were able to organize a room inside the senior center for residents to utilize until their turn to speak came about.

Press urged for the republican senator to take action.

“He may be silent, but the people will not be silent," Press said.

Rubio sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein advocating for his bipartisan "Red Flag" bill on Tuesday, Aug. 6,  according to a press release. This bill was first introduced in March 2018 following the Parkland tragedy, and encourages states to give law enforcement authority to prevent people who pose a threat to themselves or others from owning or buying firearms. In 2018, Florida also implemented its own "red flag" law, the press release states, which allows state law enforcement agencies the ability to carry out over a thousand risk protection orders. 

An Ormond Beach police officer hands out tickets for residents during Sen. Marco Rubio's mobile office hours on Thursday, Aug. 8. Photo by Jarleene Almenas

“We just want to make a point that there’s many of us with the same sentiment," said Ormond Beach resident Linda Kalaydjian on strengthening gun laws. 

Another resident said they want Rubio to help enact the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.

“Legislate — that’s all that we need," Patricia Dunn said.

A spokesperson with Rubio's office said mobile office hours have been conducted in the same way since the initiative was instated when Rubio took office. Mobile office hours are meant to grant more accessibility to residents throughout the state. Rubio's office recently won the 2019 Democracy Award by the Congressional Management Foundation for its constituent services. 

Residents wait for their turn to speak to a representative during Sen. Marco Rubio's mobile office hours on Thursday, Aug. 8. Photo by Jarleene Almenas


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