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How The Newtown Shooting Will Affect Florida's Legislative Agenda

Office of State Senator Chris Smith

State Representative Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, says the Newtown shooting should prompt us to re-examine our gun policies - and consider allowing more guns at school.

The Florida Current reports that Baxley, sponsor of the Stand Your Ground law and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, contends:

There is clearly a perspective that says if we empower law-abiding citizens and those of us in authority in settings like that to stop violent acts there is some evidence that people can, will and have prevented violent acts.

Baxely adds that gun-free zones merely "create[] some sterile targets" for criminals.  

Aside from the federal government, only the state could pass a law limiting gun ownership.  In 2011, the state legislature prohibited local governments from enacting gun ordinances more restrictive than state law.  

While Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, the Senate Democratic Leader, believes that mass shootings are due to both failed mental health and gun policies, he doubts that the killing of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown will result in any action on Florida's gun laws, according to the Florida Current.  

 “On the heels of a tragedy although some Republicans are saying the right thing," Smith observes, but "as soon as we get into April and May, and [the] NRA crew come around and rattle the cages I think they all will fall back into line.”

Last week Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced that Florida was about to reach 1 million concealed weapons permits, more than any other state.