Gun control advocates unhappy

Advocates unhappy because bills supported by NRA are passing committees

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gun control advocates who want the state to revisit the controversial "stand your ground" law are unhappy they have been unable to get a hearing while bills supported by the NRA are passing committees.

Cynthia Stafford filed a bill to make it harder to stand your ground. It hasn't seen the light of day.

"At least give us an opportunity to be heard," said Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami.

Yet bills supported by the NRA's Marion Hammer are getting a hearing. One revises background checks to include mental illnesses.

Another would give principals the power to allow guns on campus.

Sponsor Rep. Greg Stube said kids are sitting ducks because bad guys know the campus is gun free.

"They know when they walk onto an elementary school campus that nobody there has the ability or has a firearm to defend the school or the children at the school," said Stube. "I think we're setting ourselves up for a very bad situation."

The legislation requires 40 hours of training. That's the same amount of training given to an armed security guard.

High School teacher Rep. Carl Zimmerman was elected in November. He was opposed to arming teachers and others until he heard the safeguards.

"I'd like to see additional training take place for these designated people with the police," said Zimmerman.

Despite Zimmerman's conversion, former school superintendent Bill Montford remains opposed to the idea.

"Just because you're a teacher, just because you're a principle, doesn't mean you're qualified and capable of carrying a gun and trying to defend students and others on the campus," said Montford.

Lawmakers have a penchant to leaving controversy to the end, so any serious gun debate could still be weeks away.

A U.S. Government study being used to justify arming teachers said that in 37 incidents, perpetrators shot themselves when confronted by authority figures.

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