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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Politics of guns evident in divergent views of Florida officials, from stricter laws to arming teachers

17

December

Underscoring the politics in the debate following the Connecticut school massacre, Florida officials offered divergent views Monday, from stricter gun laws to arming teachers to focusing instead on mental health.

Others, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, said it was too early to react or remained mute against rising calls for action.

"We cannot tolerate this any longer. Congress has within its ability to bring up common sense gun regulation very quickly," said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa, echoing growing Democratic support for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

She blamed paralysis on gun control across the political spectrum, including President Barack Obama, who signaled in a speech Sunday in Newtown, Conn., that he would take up the issue after four years of avoiding it.

"The president should have been stronger," Castor said. "But from what I heard in his voice and saw in his eyes last night, he is determined."

Getting there is not easy. Support for new gun laws has not risen after other mass shootings and the National Rifle Association spent more than 10 times as much on lobbying as gun control groups in 2011 and the first three quarters of 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Story by Alex Leary and Michael Van Sickler here.

[Last modified: Monday, December 17, 2012 7:35pm]

    

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