President Obama has unveiled plans to tighten enforcement of gun laws; meanwhile in Florida the gun lobby will be pushing at least three changes to gun laws during the upcoming Florida legislative session.
Last month WMNF News asked Ed Narain, a Democratic State Representative from Tampa, about all three. We started by asking if gun owners with concealed carry permits should be able to bring their guns onto state college and university campuses.
“Absolutely not. You know, I’m a concealed weapons permit holder and I believe there’s a place for that in our society. But when I think about a college student – 21 years old – and that’s all we’re talking about: 21-year-olds and up being able to carry a firearm onto a campus concealed or otherwise, I think it’s just bad policy.”
What about (legalizing the) open carry (of firearms in Florida)?
“(Laughs). Open carry is even more disastrous for the state. I mean, look, we’re not Texas. And as much as some legislators might want us to be like Texas when it comes down to their economic packages and the things they’ve been able to do for their state over there – we don’t need open carry. I mean, we’ve got Walt Disney World, we’ve got Universal Studios, we’ve got Busch Gardens right here in our backyard and the idea of someone being able to carry a firearm into those theme parks would be disastrous for our tourism. Even if there is an exemption carved out – which I’ve heard about – there are blogs dedicated to people trying to sneak a firearm in. This would be dangerous policy for our citizens and our tourists.”
Finally, changes to the Stand Your Ground law that look like they might happen.
“We’re hopeful that they won’t. It did not pass the House committee. And what we see is a Senate that has decided to take it up despite the House killing it in committee. So we’re going to have to fight this again. As the chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus I can tell you we’ve taken a caucus position – all 26 of our members – that any of the gun bills, including this change to Stand Your Ground, we’re going to be completely against. It’s really unfair to shift the burden of proof from the person that’s doing the shooting to the person that was shot. Especially if that person is now deceased. It’s not right for our justice system at all.”