Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First Coast Connect: Human Rights, Gun Control In Wake Of Orlando Shooting

Attorney Eric Friday, professor Parvez Ahmed and attorney Jimmy Midyette appeared on Monday’s First Coast Connect to discuss the mass shooting in Orlando with a focus on three issues: gun control, LGBT equality and religious radicalization.

Fifty people were killed in the shooting Sunday, including suspected gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce, who was shot by police.

Friday, who is a second amendment advocate and is opposed to stricter guns laws, said the rights of gun owners are being attacked by this tragedy.

“Unfortunately the truth is President Obama is already calling for new gun controls. It is not about the guns, it is about how we investigate and how we find those people prone to that type of violence,” Friday said.

Friday’s resistance to stricter gun laws and the restitution for the assault weapon ban sparked debate among the other guests on the show.

“We are not talking about the caliber of the bullet here,” Midyette said, “we are talking about the action of the machine and whether it's a high caliber clip.

"These are instruments of mass deaths and should be banned.”

Ahmed added: “ I don't think any of us have attacked gun owners. All we are talking about is, in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy like this, why can't we come together and think about sensible ways in which guns can be restricted from the hands of those who intend to do harm.”

Ahmed, who is on the city’s Human Rights Commission, also urged leaders of certain Jacksonville religious communities to use this tragedy as a lesson and to embrace the LGBT community.

"There has to be intersection among faith leaders — about attitudes towards to the LGBT community," he said. "There are still many houses of worship in this city that have not come out in favor of the HRO, including the Islamic center I worship at. "

He added: “More cannot be done if the community feels vulnerable, if the community feels threatened. If the community feels isolated and marginalized, you will actually make the problem worse,” Ahmed said.


Hundreds in Jacksonville turned out for the vigil at Memorial Park on Sunday to show support for the LGBT community.

As a member of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, Midyette spoke about the vigil and what this means for Jacksonville’s Human RIghts Ordinance, which currently does include protection for members of the LGBT community.

“All of their messages were centered around the need to come together,” he said. “Obviously we do not want to politicize a tragedy like this but there is the need for the HRO update in Jacksonville and I think we will certainly return to it this fall.”

Watch the interview, courtesy of our partner TVJax.