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Florida LGBTQ+ activist is forcibly removed at a House hearing on gun laws

LGBTQ Activist Florida Man removed by force public hearing gun control
via The Florida Channel

Maxx Fanning, the executive director for Prism, posted the incident on social media.

Florida lawmakers had an LGBTQ leader forcibly removed from chambers as he voiced support for a gun control law.

Maxx Fanning, the executive director for Prism, spoke Wednesday at a Florida House Judiciary Committee in opposition to a proposed rollback of gun-buying rules put in place after the Parkland shooting in 2018.

But when he ran over his allowed time, Florida lawmakers cut his microphone. Then security came up and physically pulled Fanning away from a lectern and removed him from the room.

Fanning later posted the clip on his social media.

“Just got FORCEFULLY REMOVED from a committee hearing within TWENTY seconds of the Chair saying ‘Thank you, sir’ in the middle of my testimony on a bill that would weaken gun laws in our state,” he posted. “No time limit provided for comments, no warning, just two men flanking me on both sides.”

During one minute of allotted time to testify, Fanning did recount what led to Florida passing its current gun laws. In 2018, then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun reform and school safety package that raised the age to purchase assault rifles from 18 to 21.

Sitting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he would have vetoed the bill, and the Florida House this year has considered a rollback of the age restrictions.

Fanning fervently opposed that move in committee. He was the last speaker on the bill during the last hearing when the public can comment before the legislation heads to the floor. He recounted where he was during the Parkland shooting.

“A 19-year-old entered high school in Parkland, Florida and opened fire killing 17 people and injuring 17 others, and I watched that, as a sophomore at Boca Raton Community High School 20 minutes away, play out on Snapchat,” Fanning recalled. “I watched kids like me scream and yell out as gunfire rained in the background and felt the thuds of bodies like mine hit the floor.

“That school year, and every school year after, we had at least one Code Red, and we calmly turned off the lights and rolled down a paper over the window and the door, and we hid under our desks and sat there waiting patiently to find out if our faces would be the next ones memorialized next to a single candle and a tear-soaked bouquet of flowers.”

In the six years since the shooting, Fanning became an activist for LGBTQ youth in Florida. He’s executive director of Prism, which last week was among organizations staging die-ins in protest of a Florida policy criminalizing gender changes on driver’s licenses.

But he made clear he thought Florida’s lawmakers took a prudent step after a 19-year-old killed 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“Back then five years ago, when the people in this building, some of whom are sponsoring this bill, listened to young people, you did the right thing and took the tools to commit atrocities against our youth and our communities at large from people like the one that took 17 lives on Valentine’s Day in 2018.”

But Fanning wasn’t allowed to speak further before being cut off and ejected from the hearing.

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