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Dad of mass shooting victim working for gun reform in Florida

Posted at 4:28 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 18:12:54-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Jeff Binkley is spending the next two days walking Florida’s Capitol.

He’s meeting movers and shakers like Senate President Bill Galvano, a GOP leader calling on lawmakers to improve Florida’s gun law, next session.

Binkley wasn’t always working lawmakers for change. But a year ago change found him. His daughter, Maura was one of two killed during a Tallahassee yoga studio shooting.

The shooter, targeting women, injured four others, then killed himself.

“It went downhill— spiraled to our worst fears from there. That’s the best way I can describe it," Binkley said.

From the loss came Maura’s Voice. Binkley co-founded the group now raising funds for Florida State to find ways to prevent violence like mass shootings.

“Taking this terrible tragedy and trying to create something good out of it," said FSU Social Work College Dean Dr. James Clark.

Clark coordinates the effort. The group is already funding research on hate crimes against women, studying socially isolated people and looking at how to strengthen threat assessments.

“We’re trying to figure out how do we take great ideas and invest in them," Dr. Clark said.

Pair that science with Binkley’s story and the father feels lawmakers will listen when they return for session.

New gun reforms could be on the horizon, not politics as usual.

“It’s politics as necessary," he says.

Binkley said he’d like to see some legislation to close background check loopholes and strengthen Florida’s red flag laws. He also planned to push for a state hate crime bill tough on those committing crimes based on gender, religion and more.