Ryan: Building Consensus To Stop Gun Violence



As a Mayor of a town with 90,000 residents, thousands of businesses, 11 public schools, and millions of visitors a year, I have a very keen interest in preventing gun violence where possible.  As a former PTA president and father of two in our Broward County Public Schools, I have a very personal interest in protecting our children and schools.

Sunrise is also home to the only public recreational shooting range in Broward County. We welcome, and have enjoyed a positive relationship with, responsible gun owners – those who are interested in recreational and competitive shooting are friends, neighbors, visitors and residents.

Last Friday, Sheriff Scott Israel hosted a Roundtable convened by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz regarding gun violence.  Attending were predominantly law enforcement chiefs, but also School Boards of Miami Dade County and Broward, a judge handling mental health issues, a prosecutor handling exclusively gang violence and gun crimes, a former ATF agent, a current FDLE agent, and the Mayors of Miami-Dade County and Broward County.

In talking to responsible gun owners, law enforcement and residents, there is an evolving consensus: We must take whatever reasonable steps we can to prevent guns being placed in the hands of the irresponsible, derangedand criminals.

This is not simply a reaction to a single event or a series of sensational events.   In America, each day, there are 33 murders committed with guns.

There is no single solution.  That does not mean we should do nothing.  We should have:


  • School Resource Officers to play an important role in protecting our children and teachers – not as armed guards, but as part of the community-policing model meant to understand the dynamics of students and families and how they interact in and out of our schools. In addition to deterrence, they help address problems of drugs, gangs, and issues facing our neighborhoods and at-risk youth.  In Sunrise, SROs have been or are active members of SWAT, Field Force, Hostage Negotiators and other specialized units – while still being able to open the milk carton for a frustrated 1stgrader or help a parent navigate the car loop.
  • Universal background checks on ALL sales, with meaningful enforcement and real penalties for violators.
  • Background checks that are meaningful.
  • Full prosecution of anyone breaking existing laws.
  • Severely increase penalties for crimes committed with guns.
  • Ways to address the mentally ill and those with mental health issues.  Now someone committed involuntarily for 72 hours under the “Baker Act” (as a danger to themselves or others) will have their guns returned to them by the police automatically and immediately upon discharge after 72 hours AND their commitment is never entered into a background check database.  As a result, there is also no impediment or second thought given to someone being released and purchasing a gun.
  • Penalties for the possession of a firearm obtained without a background check.   If you shouldn’t have the gun, responsible gun owners say throw away the key.  How we get there is part of the discussion.

Roughly 6.6 million guns-a-year are transferred without background checks, many through the internet.  Right now, private sellers exclusively decide whether or not they should seek a background check.  That is unworkable and an illogical step to curb the flow of guns into the hands of the irresponsible, deranged and criminals.

A March shooting rampage in New Mexico occurred after someone who would never have been able to pass a background check purchased guns privately, through an ad in the paper. The seller later admitted how badly he felt.  The same scenario happened in a Wisconsin mass shooting last year involving an act of domestic violence.  How many other times a day does this happen?

We must make sure databases are populated with the right information on domestic violence history, convictions, mental health issues AND the state databases are linked to federal databases.

Databases do prevent “bad guys” from getting guns.  In 2009, over 150,000 were prohibited from purchasing.  Since 1999, 1.7 million have been prohibited from buying guns from federally licensed dealers.

But, gaps have let felons, those with domestic violence convictions and restraining orders and the mentally ill to actually obtain guns and permits to carry a concealed firearm.

At Virginia Tech, the mass shooting was committed by someone who passed a background check even though a judge had found him mentally ill and ordered he not be permitted to purchase or possess a gun.  The information was never linked to the necessary databases.  How many times a day does this happen?

All this means increased resources for enforcement and prosecutions, as well as a change in law to make the penalties severe enough that criminals, unscrupulous dealers, law enforcement and federal prosecutors take this seriously.

The raging national debate over “bans” and restrictions on the character of guns and magazines are more difficult.  Licensed dealers and law enforcement tell me since the Sandy Hook mass shooting, you cannot even find certain “military style” weapons to purchase…or the prices have skyrocketed.

It is true so many of the murders committed each day involve weapons not even contemplated by any proposed “ban” or not involving high capacity magazines.  So, some solutions should be implemented without even tackling the thorny issues presented.

However, many in law enforcement said limiting high capacity magazines would make a difference over time regarding dangers they face and in many of these shootings. Mark Kelly emphasized this point last week in an interview; his wife Gabrielle Giffords was shot when the killer was stopped as he attempted to reload after emptying 30 rounds from a magazine.  Sure, they can just reload.  But, for the untrained particularly, reloading is a point where intervention can occur or where mechanical failure can impede.  Some question why any civilian needs 30 round or more capacity.

We must take the steps we all agree will make a difference.   Doing nothing is not an option.  Becoming paralyzed by politics will cost lives.


Mike Ryan, the mayor of Sunrise, is also Chair of the Broward League of Cities Public Safety Committee and the Co-Chair of the Joint SRO Taskforce of the Broward League of Cities. 



26 Responses to “Ryan: Building Consensus To Stop Gun Violence”

  1. Lois says:

    Mark Kelly is the husband of former Congresswoman Giffords.

  2. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:


    By “frustrated 1st grader”, are you referring to Commissioner Rosen?

  3. BCDevelopment says:

    As usual, a well crafted and meaningful commentary from Mayor Ryan….Rational and grounded folks from all over the US can find common ground on this issue…unfortunately, like far too many of today’s other important public policy debates, the extreme elements on both sides continue to block us from making any tangible progress…

    Being the ever foolish optimist, I keep wishing that Mayor Ryan’s sensibility & approach to local leadership rubs off on some of his fellow elected officals….yet every Wed AM I find myself disappointed yet again.

  4. Floridan says:

    To Mayor Ryan’s list of sensible suggestions, I would add placing greater responsibility on gunowners to make sure that their firearms do not cause harm through the owners’ carelessness, ignorance or refusal to abide by legal requirements.

    How often do we read about a child who is killed when playing with a parent’s gun, but there are no charges because the parent “has suffered enough.” I don’t doubt that they have, but on the other hand thier child would still be alive if the parent had taken the measures necessary to make the gun unaccessible.

    Likewise, someone who, without executing a background check, sells a gun to a person who later commits a crime with it should bear some responsibility for the crime.

    If we’re going to be an armed society, then we should take steps to hold those who are armed responsibile for the dangerous objects in their possession.

  5. @mayor ryan says:

    Mayor, why don’t you don’t look for something much more dangerous, pervasive in your community, and something you can actually do something about: stray voltage.
    Florida has the highest per capita deaths for stray or contact voltage in the US.

  6. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    “Some question why any civilian needs 30 round(s) or more capacity”.

    An intruder in Georgia last week broke into a home with a crowbar. A mother and her two 9 yr old twins were in the home. They hid in their attic crawl space. The intruder then used the crowbar to break into her locked bedroom door, her locked bathroom door, and into the crawl space where they were hiding. She emptied her weapon, hitting the intruder five times (in the head and neck). He fled on foot and then by car. He is currently on a ventilator. Five bullets did not kill him and did not immediately stop him from the physical effort it took to flee. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I too wondered why anyone would need a 30 shot magazine. After this incident I know why. Thank God that mother had a weapon. I hate to think of what the outcome would have been if she needed another round to finish the job.

  7. Sunrise Resident says:

    Mayor Ryan, instead of making a public scene about an issue that goes about municipal jurisdiction for your political career, why don’t you solve the Food Truck debacle already or deal with the real issues in Sunrise?


    I love your idea about keeping guns out of the hands of the people who might do harm to others, like criminals, mentally unstable, and don’t forget Mexican drug lords.
    Maybe you can write the President you supported about all the families in Mexico that have been affected by the US guns sold to Mexican drug lords.

  9. @what would reagan do? says:

    She had a handgun and emptied it. There is no 30 round clip for a handgun.

    30 Round magazines are only found for certain semi-automatic rifles.

    And since you are going with “What would Reagan do?” as a name, here is what Reagan said…..

    Well, I think there has to be some [gun] control. — Ronald Reagan, November 14, 1988.

    With the right to bear arms comes a great responsibility to use caution and common sense on handgun purchases. — Ronald Reagan, March 29, 1991.

    Certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited. — Ronald Reagan, August 28, 1986

    I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home. — Ronald Reagan, February 6, 1989.

  10. Mayor Mike Ryan says:

    In addition to changes we need to make, existing laws need to be fully enforced.

    We know that every day, those with firearm impediments test the system to try to obtain a weapon from licensed dealers. Such an attempt is a Federal Crime. However, very few of those people are prosecuted – ATF doesn’t have the resources to track those people down, and prosecutors don’t push prosecution. Yet, common sense and statistics tell us those people, once denied, will go to private sales to get a gun they were told they should not have.

    We know “straw purchases” present as a supply route to the street and, by definition, are putting guns into the hands of those who should not have guns. However, very few of the cases presented to DOJ are actually prosecuted. “Lie and Buy” prosecutions must be taken seriously.

    In order to fully prosecute these laws, maybe we need stiffer penalties to encourage prosecutors to press the cases. At the very least, we need additional resources dedicated to investigating and fully prosecuting these cases.

  11. Stop gun violence says:

    Thank you, Mayor. There are 30 mayors in Broward County. Only 10 have joined Mayors Against Gun Violence. The rest need to be encouraged to STEP UP and DEMAND A PLAN from Congress.

  12. JTR says:

    Kids accidentally die from careless playing with accessible guns in the house. Parents need to take action to prevent access not take action to grant access.

    Also how many children die in FL each year by accidental drowning in their families pool? What should we do about that.. ban pools more than 6″ deep?

    What happened in CO and CT was the direct action of mentally ill, or evil people. What are we doing about that? I know limit their access to only 7 rounds per magazine. Then in the next mass killing by a madman when he had 10 7 round magazines in a gun free zone, we can pass other feel good legislation to only allow one magazine per gun and only allow someone to buy an additional magazine by turning in the one they have.

    Let’s only do what can be effective not respond to emotions.

  13. FAST AND FURIOUS says:


  14. Ha Ha Ha says:


    President Obama will unveil a sweeping set of gun-control proposals at midday Wednesday, including an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and limits on the number of bullets that ammunition clips can hold, according to sources familiar with the plans. […]

  15. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home. – Ronald Reagan, February 6, 1989.

    I don’t disagree on the first two(sporting and hunting)and until a few days ago I didn’t disagree with the third(defense)until that young mother proved that it isn’t up to you, or I, or Ronald Reagan to decide that point for her.

  16. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:


    How many mass murders have been committed with a knife?

  17. Action says:

    What Mayor Ryan needs is grassroots action. We — everyone reading this — should contact area mayors and get them committed to a coalition to reasonably reform gun laws in Florida.

    I will contact my mayor tomorrow and others. Hopefully we can gain momentum to do something, because something NEEDS to be done. Look, even the dysfunctional NYS government passed a gun reform law. If they can do it, why can’t we?

  18. Someone will always find a way says:

    @ Chaz stevens

    25. School children as well.


    Fact is crazies will use a gun, a knife, a hammer, an axe, whatever they can get their hands on. I’d rather be able to protect myself against any of those with a gun then a pointy stick.

  19. Julia Spann says:

    Yes, Mayor Mike said it right: We must do something. I’d add do something NOW. We CANNOT afford more bloodshed due to the loopholes and neglected attention paid to the control systems.

    There are excellent systems in place to protect society financially. Credit checks are performed with great proficiency for everything from purchasing a car to opening a bank account.

    Why can’t there be that same efficiency in background checks — that include mental health status?

    It’s a matter of importance. You can put a price on the value of a car or other material, but you CANNOT put a price on the life of a human being.

    We MUST ALL DO SOMETHING NOW and support the leaders fighting for our safety like Mayor Mike Ryan of Sunrise, Florida.

  20. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    If we are going to make stricter, tougher gun laws to make sure these horrible events never happen again why don’t we make a comprehensive law that covers ALL weapons. I got it, why don’t we make it against the law to kill people? There. Problem solved.

  21. Plantation Working Mom says:

    Mayor Ryan is once again the voice of common sense. Too bad some of the people commenting here don’t have any! I would add that the U.S. should also ban all gun sales on the internet. Guns should only be able to be purchased at a registered, licensed and insured dealer. No more private sales unless it goes through a registered dealer and no more internet. And no more gun show purchases. If you want to sell or buy a gun, you must go through the registered, licensed and insured gun dealer and it must be in person. There should be a national database for gun and ammo sales similar to the one that checks if you’re pill shopping. Tell me what constitutional amendment this violates?! The citizens of this country have had it with the extremists and we are standing up united on this issue. Our voices will be heard and change is coming so you better be ready!

  22. Ha Ha Ha says:



    -Require criminal background checks for all gun sales. (a.k.a. closing the “gun show loophole.”)

    -Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.

    -Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.

    -Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.

    -Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.

    -End the freeze on gun violence research.

    -Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.

    -Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.

    -Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.


    1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

    2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

    3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

    4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

    5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

    6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

    7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

    8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

    9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

    10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

    11. Nominate an ATF director.

    12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

    13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

    14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

    15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies

    16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

    17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

    18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

    19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

    20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

    21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

    22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

    23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

  23. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    I like item umber 10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement. Does this mean we will finally get the truth about Fast and Furious?

  24. John Henry says:

    Maybe Cryin’ Mike Ryan should join Hacky Jacky Seiler on his quest to bring down the evil gun shows at war memorial.

    Meanwhile in 33311 neighborhood……

  25. Electric says:

    Lets see ban ammo ban guns that sounds familar lets see the results
    23 million killed in Germany after gun bans by Hitler

    2.5 million killed by sadam after gun ban

    12 to 18 million armenians killed after gun ban…..Get your evil hands off my guns I dont trust government and never will thats why I have guns…it is not a bill of needs its a Bill of Rights got it. The day any Police Dept can get to my location when I call 911 in less than 7 minutes is the day I know I can turn in my Ak until then go fix my high taxes and laziness in Govt….

  26. Valerie Parkhurst says:

    It’s amazing we have these “powers that be” can actually stand in front of the public with a straight face and attempt to pass this “gun control” off while turning a blind eye to the thousands of criminal illegal detainee’s being released as I write. You Mayors, commissioners and other Overlords need to seek a real job. Any proposed legislation against guns is a political and career ending kiss of death, as well it should be.