This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: Has the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School changed your thinking on guns and gun control laws? If so, how?
Although I do believe in our Second Amendment right, I feel all assault weapons should be permanently banned. I believe that the government should implement stricter policies related to the waiting periods for all firearm sales, including gun show requirements and private sales. In addition, I believe that anyone purchasing a gun must have an extensive Level I and II background screening prior to the sale.
Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center
The Parkland tragedy must be a call to action that echoes in every home, office and classroom. The horrific loss of life — the failure to meet our most basic obligation of protecting our children — should rapidly bring policy-makers together to ensure common sense gun control measures along with expanded access to effective behavioral health supports. Schools, mental health providers and law enforcement need to come together and create a social safety net to ensure that individuals who need help have access to quality services and create a seamless system of notification if violent behavior is even suspected.
Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing
In my opinion, our country needs more protection in our schools to prevent tragic events like this one. We have lost many innocent lives, and this needs to stop. Our society needs to leverage these painful tragedies to propel our government to pass stronger legislation regarding who’s allowed to purchase these dangerous weapons. The change has to start now, and it has to be driven by all of us.
Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes
It has reinforced my position that our society is being put at increasing peril to gun violence because the silent majority has not put more pressure on government leaders to act in the best interests of public safety.
Jerome Hutchinson Jr., managing partner, JHJ Marketing Group
I have walked into a few gun shops over the years and questioned the wisdom of allowing these military grade assault weapons to be owned by any civilian, least of all an 18-year-old we don’t trust to drink alcohol responsibly. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting tragedy has only reinforced my belief that a ban on assault weapons should be re-established and that adding an enhanced background check for gun purchases is a no-brainer. It should not be this easy to obtain guns of any kind.
Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.
The one thing this shooting made me sure of is that something needs to change. Yes, we need to limit access to military-style weapons, but addressing the gaps in our mental health system is just as important. Our kids deserve to feel free to focus on their schooling without having these kinds of fears on their minds.
Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division
First off, I am completely for the Second Amendment, but what I do not understand is why an 18-year-old cannot buy alcohol or a pistol, but they are legally able to purchase and utilize an AR-15 rifle. (Still not sure why any citizen really needs an AR-15). There is something completely wrong with this picture and I am so glad to see President Trump support raising the age limit to 21 and looking for stricter background checks. I was recently in Las Vegas and drove by the area where the mass shooting occurred across the Mandalay Bay Hotel. It was surreal to see everything still in its place, from the stage to the portable bathrooms. The same day I was flying home, I heard about the mass shooting in Parkland and it really hit home. We need action now!
Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.
What happened in Parkland is tragic and it’s happening too often in the United States. The fact that assault rifles are weapons of war but are the primary weapon of choice for active shooters needs to be addressed in a meaningful way. I believe we can find the balance between the two sides of the gun debate, and I am hopeful that it will be the students from Stoneman who will get us there.
Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena
Our hearts go out to the families and the community of Parkland. As a bank, we explored disallowing gun purchases using our Visa debit and credit cards, however, Visa does not flag purchases of guns separately and some retailers that sell guns — like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods — also sell other merchandise such that we would not want to block entire retailers. So we are very pleased that some retailers are implementing common sense gun purchase policies.
Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank
My thinking has not changed. It has become more validated by these frequent and extreme events. No one can justify the need for a private person to have, let alone use, an AR-15 in a civilized society. Guns of mass killing do not belong in our society at all, especially not in urban environments. I hold in high esteem the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for speaking up and leading the charge for safer schools and gun reform in our state of Florida, as well as across our nation. They are the voice of a new generation of community activists who have keenly used social media as their own call for action.
Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects
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