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Elections 2016: Florida Lawmakers Prepare For 'Marathon' Gun Control Debate, After Orlando Shooting

A trophy, Teddy bears, heart-shaped wreaths, and candles are just a few of the thousands of items mourners placed at a memorial in downtown Orlando in the weeks following the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Fifty people, including the gunman, died in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and Florida gun control advocates hoped lawmakers would be compelled to propose stricter gun laws. They urged a special legislative session.

But Governor Rick Scott rejected the idea. At a press conference three weeks after the shooting he explained why:

“The Second Amendment has been around for over 200 years. The Second Amendment didn’t kill anybody. Evil does.”

Scott does back the idea of banning gun sales to suspected terrorists. The so-called “No Fly No Buy” concept has support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. But Florida gun control advocates think it’s not enough.

Patricia Brigham heads the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. The League of Women Voters created the group in response to the Pulse shooting. Brigham has spent the past three years battling what she calls “bad gun bills” as part of the League’s efforts.

The Coalition proposed two changes: universal background checks and a ban on semiautomatic weapons. More than 90 groups—gun safety…faith based…health care have signed on.

Democratic statehouse candidate Beth Tuura, is one of them.

Democratic state House candidate Beth Tuura’s calendar is packed with events leading up to the election.

Inside her living room the political newcomer from Orlando is looking at her packed campaign calendar.

Tuura is openly gay and when she started her campaign...LGBT rights were at the center of her platform. She added gun control as a focus after the Pulse shooting.

Jon Gutmacher has an answer. And it’s not more gun control.

In the past 35 years Gutmacher’s been an NRA certified firearms instructor....a prosecutor…and a police legal advisor. He’s also an unabashed pro-gun guy who’s written a 350-page book on Florida gun law.

And he believes they don’t address the underlying causes of gun violence.

Nicole Doucette agrees. She was at a vigil the night of the Pulse shooting. And one of her friends who was in the club was still unaccounted for.

She also thinks stricter gun control would just feed the black market.

But the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence argues restricting access to guns could help prevent future mass shootings. Patricia Brigham says the group is working with national organizations to draft legislation.

Her group is also trying to educate voters on the candidates’ positions on the issue because the legislature could debate gun control as early as next year.

Renata joined the WVIK News team in March 2014, as the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fellow. She anchors during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, produces features, and reports on everything from same-sex marriage legislation to unemployment in the Quad Cities.