Quavon and Torrey were transported to Jackson, but they did not sustain any life-threatening injuries. Evans was pronounced dead at the scene.

"To know that someone will pull a gun and shoot somebody just for looking at them funny is horrible," his mom says. "Even though we were around it every day, I never thought gun violence would destroy my family."

The Big Picture

Suleiman Yousef purchased his first AR-15-style rifle in 2006, two years after the federal assault rifle ban expired.
Giulio Sciorio
Suleiman Yousef purchased his first AR-15-style rifle in 2006, two years after the federal assault rifle ban expired.
Jorge Corbato has been making rifles in Miami for almost a decade.
Francisco Alvarado
Jorge Corbato has been making rifles in Miami for almost a decade.

On the one-month anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado broke ranks with the Republican Party to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Flanked by Carol Gardner, whose son was killed with an AK-47 in Liberty City last April, Regalado stood on the front steps of Miami City Hall to announce a new campaign against gun violence.

"I believe that it is important that we send this message," Regalado said.

The mayor's move is just one of dozens at the local, state, and federal levels seeking to curb Florida's lucrative, fascinating, and deadly love affair with firearms. But despite rising public support — 51 percent polled by CNN last month favor tighter controls — and a big push from President Obama, it looks increasingly probable that the status quo will remain.

The same day Feinstein presented her new assault weapons ban bill, CBS News reported she doesn't have the 60 votes from her colleagues to get it passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Even Democratic senators who crafted the 1994 ban, including Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Max Baucus of Montana, won't get behind her. In the GOP-dominated House, passage is even less likely.

There is a push on the state level in Florida to change gun laws, including a bill sponsored by Tallahassee Democratic Rep. Alan B. Williams to repeal Florida's Stand Your Ground law. But Florida's capitol remains dominated by the GOP, which is unlikely to back any reforms.

"Of course I support the ban, but the NRA is so powerful I don't believe it will pass," Spence-Jones says of the federal proposal, which won the support of the Miami City Commission in a recent resolution.

Local leaders have taken a few substantive steps since Sandy Hook. The Miami Police Department operates one of the nation's most aggressive gun buyback programs, in which the city exchanges Miami Heat tickets and supermarket vouchers for firearms. During two gun buybacks conducted in January, the city collected 209 guns, including two AK-47s and a Ruger Mini-14 sniper rifle.

And surprisingly, even many gun advocates — such as Corbato and Yousef — agree that some gun control measures make sense.

"I do believe we should have universal background checks," Corbato says. "You should not be able to meet a buyer in a Denny's parking lot and sell him a gun without knowing who he is. I think a large percentage of gun crimes are a result of sales like that."

Adds Yousef: "The national registry and universal background checks don't bother me, but everything else does."

Gwendolyn Evans, though, is not so sure tighter controls on firearms will prevent guns from falling into the hands of thugs. "Knowing the streets, I guarantee criminals will find a way around it," she says.

No gun ban or universal background check will bring justice for her slain son. Miami police still don't have any leads on who killed Ladarius. Bivins is still awaiting trial for the first attempt on his life.

"Every day, I feel something is missing in my life," Gwendolyn says. "My family has been broken and torn apart."

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My Voice Nation Help

Nice biased hit piece. While you mention percentages of homicides committed with guns locally, rather than compare that to national statistics to see if that's unusual (i.e., rather than act with some journalistic integrity) you instead simply imply, without presenting any evidence, that this is unusually high and is so due to Florida's gun laws. Oddly enough though, when one actually does the journalistically responsible thing and looks at national figures and those from other states (like Illinois, with some of the strictest gun laws, and highest gun crime rates), South Florida, if anything, has a LOWER ratio of gun deaths to total homicides.

And despite your blatant attempt to tie all this to so-called "assault weapons", you never mention the fact that virtually none of these deaths ever involve such firearms. However, just as everywhere else in the US, such firearms are used in fewer than 1/2 of 1% of homicides (and virtually never in suicides). In fact, the only specific study done in the state on the subject, carried out by the city of Miami, one of the most anti-gun city governments in the state, found that so-called "assault weapons" are the LEAST often used type of gun in any form of crime within the city, despite the fact that, as you point out, they are one of the most commonly owned.

But hey, what are facts and verifiable statistics compared to bigotry and unsupported innuendo, right?


Spence-Jones  said 2 words..   No Snitching! 

icculus17 topcommenter

jobs? sounds like a one-man operation


My question is, which of the proposed laws, will stop a sandy hook, or denver type attack?   (today). or even the AZ Gifford's attack?   

background checks make sense.  but limiting the number of bullets?  

would stiffer sentences have the same effect?  -felons caught with guns get 20-30 years.


Ruger Mini-14 sniper rifle.  - that is an oxymoron.  mini14's are not that accurate.