By: Mike Vasilinda
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Gun control advocates who want the state to revisit the controversial Stand Your Ground law are unhappy they have been unable to get a hearing while bills supported by the NRA are passing committees.
Gun control advocates are unhappy. Cynthia Stafford filed a bill to make it harder to stand your ground. It hasn’t seen the light of day. “At least give us an opportunity to be heard.”, says Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami.
Yet bills supported by the NRA’s Marion Hammer are getting a hearing. One revises background checks to include mental illnesses. Another would give principals the power to allow guns on campus. Sponsor Greg Stube, says kids are sitting ducks because bad guys know the campus is gun free.
“They know when they walk onto an elementary school campus that nobody there has the ability or has a firearm to defend the school or the children at the school. And I think we’re setting ourselves up for a very bad situation.”, says Rep. Greg Stube, R-Sarasota.
The legislation requires 40 hours of training. That’s the same amount of training given to an armed security guard. High School teacher Carl Zimmerman was elected in November. He was opposed to arming teachers and others until he heard the safeguards. “I’d like to see additional training take place for these designated people with the police.”, says Rep. Carl Zimmerman, D-Palm Harbor.
Despite Zimmerman’s conversion, former School Superintendent Bill Montford remains opposed to the idea. “Just because you’re a teacher. Just because you’re a principle, doesn’t mean you’re qualified and capable of carrying a gun and trying to defend students and others on the campus.”, says Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee.
Lawmakers have a penchant to leaving controversy to the end, so any serious gun debate could still be weeks away.