North Central Florida politicians react to Connecticut shooting, possible gun legislation

By on December 14th, 2012

Dennis Baxley and Chuck Chestnut offer their thoughts on Friday’s Connecticut shooting and possible increased gun control measures that could result.

Dennis Baxley, Florida state house representative, on the shooting and gun-free zones:

I’m pretty stricken at such a loss, being a father of five children, of eight grandchildren… My heart just breaks to think what those families are experiencing.

It really does put into question in my mind why are we creating these gun-free zones so that a person who’s irrational, who doesn’t care what your rules are, has a sterile target. He knows he can go into that environment and no one will be prepared to stop him. And it absolutely validates to me that this idea of gun control in a state where, in Connecticut, which has the strongest control laws in the nation. And then in China we have a same kind of serious incident, and it wasn’t even a firearm. It was a knife. He knifed over 22 children, whoever this deranged person (was).

We can’t simply continue creating sterile targets for deranged people to attack and know that no one will be able to stop them.

Chuck Chestnut, Alachua County Commissioner, on the obstacles to gun legislation:

It’s really getting people to understand that there is an issue with guns, but then you have the Second Amendment that gives you the right to bear arms, so most folks in the state of Florida, even state legislators, like the second amendment…

…probably the majority of the legislators currently in Tallahassee are probably inclined to support the National Rifle Association in terms of the right to bear arms, and to own a gun, and to carry a gun, and they’re probably going to support “stand your ground” types of law, so it makes it very difficult to get people to see the other side that we’re also losing lives with guns and stuff like that. And you have people who are very responsible with guns and then you have those who aren’t so how do you legislate that?

…How do you tell folks that these things are bad when they’re sort of isolated incidents? But these incidents like 20 people getting killed, that’s something very tragic and drastic that occurs… to have people begin to advocate that some of the laws are kind of bad because we will continue to have these kinds of losses in terms of lives, so really I think it basically boils down to lobbying your legislator about the issue and telling them where you think its’ wrong.

Elle Newbold and Stephanie Denardo contributed reporting.

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  • Ron Rodgers

    Is Rep. Baxley one of the lawmakers who has proposed allowing guns on college campuses in Florida? And how dare he (and how can you allow him to) compare the deaths of little kids to a knifing in which, at last report, seven students had been admitted to a hospital, none seriously injured. China stabbing, gun-free zones, sterile targets — those sound like NRA talking points.

    • Rich7553

      Wow. How oblivious can you be? The school was a gun-free zone. The shooter obviously didn’t care. Once inside, he was free to slaughter innocents in full-knowledge there would be no one there to stop him. The police, on whom you seem to rely, didn’t even arrive until after the shooter committed suicide. Are you aware that all mass-shootings of three persons or more since 1950 except one (Tucson) occurred in gun-free zones? Do you think this is a coincidence?


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