Gun reform takes center stage in this week’s podcast.
Two powerful committees in the Florida House and Senate approved gun bills this week in response to the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The sweeping legislation would raise the minimum age for gun purchases, allow teachers to have a gun in class if they’ve gone through special training, and provide millions of dollars to school districts for mental health screenings and security measures. It would also give police more power to take guns away from those who are threatening themselves or others.
In the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday, Fort Lauderdale Democratic Representative Bobby Dubose said he was leaning in favor of the bill - until he saw the list of amendments that were tacked on just before the vote.
“There was a comment that says not voting for this is voting for the NRA. I completely disagree. I feel that voting for this is voting for the NRA. I think that some of these amendments were dropped on behalf of the NRA. They may still stand in opposition to this, but I feel that they are guiding this. We all – it’s no secret how heavy their hand is in this.”
Dubose voted against the bill. An amendment to ban assault weapons failed.
Florida has become known as the Gunshine State -- in no small part thanks to the National Rifle Association’s influence and money. The NRA has donated millions of dollars - directly and indirectly - to state and federal political campaigns.
Republican Governor Rick Scott had an A-plus NRA rating during his 2014- re-election.
But Scott may be distancing himself from group. Scott no longer is a featured speaker at the NRA’s leadership forum in Dallas scheduled in May. And last week, Scott announced a three-tiered action plan to keep students safe. It does not include arming teachers.
Our guests included discussing the developments were:
- Mike Spies, staff writer at The Trace, which is a news organization focused on covering guns in the U.S.
- Joanne McCall, FEA President
- Grady Judd, Polk County Sheriff
- Lawrence Mower, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau