Saturday, February 24, 2018
Politics

Scott supports review of state gun laws: 'I want people to feel safe'

LARGO — Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday voiced his support for a broad review of Florida's gun laws by state legislators, saying the state's tourist economy depends on visitors being able to "feel safe" amidst an increasingly well-armed population.

"We have a legislative session coming up," Scott said during a visit to the Honeywell Aerospace plant in Largo, where he was promoting a new plan to cut taxes for manufacturing companies. "I think the right thing to do is go back and look at our laws."

The father of a teacher, Scott said he would particularly support looking at ways to make schools safer. But he did not specify which other areas of existing state law might deserve scrutiny, refusing to respond to questions about universal background checks for firearm sales and a ban on assault weapons.

"I want people to feel safe in our state," he said.

His remarks came in response to reporters' questions on gun control, as the nation awaited President Barack Obama's announcement on proposals to reform federal firearm regulations. Obama called on Congress to enact bans on assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, and expand background checks for gun purchasers.

Scott's statements about a review of state gun laws were a rare — if still vague — foray into the debate over gun control.

In the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults by a gunman at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Scott has emphasized his sympathy for the victims' families, rather than a legislative response. He skipped a conference call held by Vice President Joe Biden last week in which Biden solicited views on gun violence.

Scott's press secretary, Jackie Schutz, said the governor's comments Wednesday were not a "call to action" for specific legislation or reforms.

"Gov. Scott, as he has continued to say, is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment," Schutz said. "He's open to having a conversation, and he wants people to feel safe."

Florida's patchwork gun laws have subjected the state to criticism from gun control advocates across the country. The state received a grade of "D-" in a recent review of state firearm laws by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a San Francisco-based nonprofit.

In addition to its hotly debated "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law, Florida does not require background checks for private sales of weapons and places no limit on the number of guns a person can buy at one time. The state has issued more than a million permits to carry a concealed handgun.

Top Republicans in Tallahassee have so far balked at the prospect of adjusting those laws, though they have signaled some openness to increasing funding for school-security measures after the Newtown shooting.

Senate President Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican, told the Orlando Sentinel this month that regulating gun access is "not something I think the Legislature will get involved in, other than peripherally."

Asked to clarify the governor's position on which state laws should be examined, Schutz said she could not offer specifics.

"Generally, he wants to take the (legislative) session to look at them, like he said," Schutz said. "He wants to look at any ideas."

Peter Jamison can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

Comments
Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushnerís security clearance

Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushnerís security clearance

WASHINGTON ó A top Justice Department official alerted the White House two weeks ago that significant information requiring additional investigation would further delay the security clearance process of senior adviser Jared Kushner, three people fami...
Published: 02/23/18
Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

TAMPA ó A bipartisan pair of former congressmen spoke Friday about gun safety measures that are more drastic than those being considered following the Parkland school shootings, and about hopes for a national youth movement comparable to the 1960s an...
Published: 02/23/18

Gulfport candidates draw stark contrasts

GULFPORT ó One candidate is a plain-spoken, straightforward technology consultant who preaches "conservative fiscal responsibility" and votes Republican in national elections.The other is a self-proclaimed "progressive liberal" who practices law, pro...
Published: 02/23/18
William March: Gun issues playing bigger role now in local races

William March: Gun issues playing bigger role now in local races

In the aftermath of the Broward County high school shooting, gun rights issues have jumped to the forefront of local legislative races.Democratic challengers are calling out incumbents in Tampa legislative seats on their past stances on gun control."...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the presidentís call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Published: 02/22/18
Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

After an emotionally draining day that captured national attention ó the massive rally in Tallahassee and a small, tearful gathering of survivors at the White House ó CNNís Wednesday night town hall on the Parkland shooting could have easily been ove...
Published: 02/22/18
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republicanís affair with a woman in 2015. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the indictment Thursday. She launched an ...
Published: 02/22/18
Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trumpís club

Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trumpís club

Two weeks after President Donald Trump nominated Florida businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr. to be ambassador to Barbados, Rizzuto pledged thousands of dollars to fund a gala at Trumpís Mar-a-Lago Club, the galaís organizer said.Rizzuto and his wife, Den...
Published: 02/22/18
Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

New charges were filed Thursday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, ratcheting up the legal pressure on them as they prepare for a trial later this year.A new indictment has long been expected in special cou...
Published: 02/22/18
Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Gun advocates are absolutely right about this:A ban on assault weapons will not end school shootings.How do we know?Because there was a federal ban on assault weapons for 10 years, and mass killings persisted. Thatís because a ban deals only with fut...
Published: 02/22/18