By: Mike Vasilinda
After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in December, State leaders promised that “everything” was on the table when it came to guns and school safety.
Efforts to put a guidance counselor in every school to spot trouble, require schools to hold more frequent lockdown exercises…or a bill to arm teachers all died when lawmakers went home.
Representative Dennis Baxley chairs a committee that heard some gun bills. We asked why more gun bills, pro or con, didn’t pass. “Definitely a sense of not over reacting to some of the spectacular things that happened like Sandy Hook” says Baxley.
The NRA’s lobbyist was in the gallery when the only gun bill..out of 15 introduced…passed.
The bill clamps down on the ability of the mentally ill to buy a gun. Sponsor Audrey Gibson says it passed because the NRA supported it. “At lease we are at the table talking about it..and we should continue to talk about other ways to make sure we stop gun violence” says the Jacksonville State Senator. After a law enforcement memorial for fallen police officers, Fraternal Order of Police President James Preston says they would have liked some clarification to the controversial Stand Your Ground. “If there is an opportunity to recede or back away from the violence, that would be our preference, but if you have to protect yourself, then by all means, the public needs to be able to do that” says the FOP President.
The bill that would have done that never got a hearing. “We never even had the discussion about stand your ground” said State Senator Chris Smith, the sponsor of legislation to prohibit someone from pursuing someone and then claiming Stand Your Ground.
But the NRA says lawmaker looked and decided nothing was broken that needed fixing.Last year a task force held seven public hearings on Stand Your Ground and made minor recommendations to tweak the legislation, but even that bill was not heard by lawmakers.