Laura Uribe won’t forget her high school sister’s text about the rumor of a school shooter in May.
Her sister huddled in a closet, while on lockdown at J.P. Taravella High School, as Uribe kept getting messages from her friends and former art teacher.
After hours of waiting, no one was hurt, and the occurrence ended as a gun scare.
“It’s the fear of not knowing,” the UF political science junior said.
Only nine months later and about five miles away from her sister’s high school, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Uribe, 20, said she knew she had to make a change. She helped raise awareness and bring people to a Gainesville City Commission meeting Thursday night to watch a vote on a gun reform resolution. It recognized gun violence as a public health and safety emergency. It passed unanimously.
“I wasn’t heavily invested in gun reform when I was in high school,” Uribe said. “I think it’s a byproduct of tragedy. People step up.”
The resolution will be a part of Gainesville’s official records, and a synopsis will be mailed to members of Florida’s legislature, Commissioner Harvey Ward said.
The city commission worked together to revise the resolution and added points such as opposition against arming teachers, Ward said.
“This letter says that we’re watching, and we have expectations,” Ward, commissioner of District II, said. “If they don’t do something, then we’ll know where they stand.”
Ward, 50, drafted the resolution, which has no legal standing, as he tried to find some way to respond to the shooting in Parkland, which took 17 lives on Valentine’s Day. Local government in Florida is restricted from passing gun reforms because of Florida Statute 790.33.
“I have had concerns about guns for a long time,” he said. “I’ve been sick about it since Sandy Hook. I’m happy we as a society are ready to make a change.”