‘Moral movement’ urges DeSantis to condemn gun violence

Many faith leaders and organizations blame the governor’s rhetoric, saying it encourages shootings
Protestors deliver 'Cease and desist' letters to Governor's Office
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 9:11 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - Several groups urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to condemn gun violence across Florida.

Many faith leaders and other organizations blame the governor’s rhetoric and say it encourages shootings like a racially-motivated shooting in Jacksonville last month. They dropped off boxes filled with cease and desist letters at the governor’s office Friday.

A gunman killed three Black people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville at the end of August. The justice department launched a federal hate crime investigation into the shooting.

“Considering the fact that this has been a reoccurring problem since the reconstruction era,” Florida A&M student Naja Haynes said.

The shooting in Jacksonville is the latest in a long line of shootings targeting Black people. This includes a shooting at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store last year and at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Haynes is one of several people encouraging the governor to stop what she calls hateful rhetoric she blames for the violence.

“We have to do something. We have to come together. We have to put our differences aside because right or left, wrong is wrong,” Haynes said.

DeSantis wasn’t at his office when the letters were dropped off. He was in Washington, D.C., speaking at a Concerned Women for America event. His office did send a statement calling the messages “a stunt.”

Shortly after the shooting, DeSantis pledged $1 million to increase security at Edwards Waters University. The gunman was turned away from that campus before the shooting.