‘We’re all for it:’ Orlando business owner reacts to security changes after downtown shooting

News 6 looks at state law that prevents establishment of gun-free zone in downtown Orlando

Following Sunday morning's deadly shooting in downtown Orlando, Mayor Buddy Dyer is seeking to implement security changes to the area in an attempt to prevent further attacks.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Amid a demand for increased safety protocols in downtown Orlando after seven were shot and injured last weekend, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said a state law is preventing him from making the area a gun-free zone.

“If I had the ability to say that downtown would be a gun-free zone, I would do that tomorrow, but I simply don’t have that ability,” Dyer said at a news briefing on Monday.

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After News 6 asked for clarification on the state law Dyer cited, the city said he is referring to Florida statute 790.33—the field of regulation of firearms and ammunition preempted—the weapons and firearms state law that puts regulations on guns and limits on how much cities can enforce said regulations.

“Mayor Dyer believes local governments know best how to meet the needs of our communities, residents and businesses,” his office said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the State has prevented cities from enacting policies that keep our residents safe from gun violence.”

The city of Orlando is expanding controlled entry points into the downtown area on the weekends following a shooting that injured seven people early Sunday.

There will be some new security measures in place as a result of the shooting, during which a gunman, who deputies are still searching for, fired into a crowd early on July 31.

Dyer said there will be access checkpoints on Friday and Saturday evenings downtown to limit how people can enter the downtown area. The city said patrons will have to go through metal detectors and a weapons check at these checkpoints before walking into the access areas.

“I just feel like whatever we can do to make sure downtown is safer, we’re all for it,” said Owen Siah, co-owner at Shakai Sushi Lounge in downtown Orlando. “If downtown can be a weapons-free zone, I think that’s great.”

He said safety is key downtown. His business is two blocks away from the area near South Orange Avenue and Wall Street Plaza where the shooting occurred.

News 6 spoke with one of the victims who said she was shot in downtown Orlando Sunday morning after a gunman fired into a crowd, injuring seven near Orange Avenue and Wall Street.

He said he’s like many downtown business owners who are happy to hear Dyer say the city will start implementing these security checkpoints as early as Friday.

“Why does it take so many (shootings) for something to happen? This should have happened months ago,” Siah said.

Siah said, however, he does think the city has done well in listening to the concerns of downtown businesses.

The Orlando Police Department is still searching for the shooter and has a portal open for anyone with information, videos or pictures to submit that may help in the investigation. Find the link to the portal below.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.