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HomeIllinois NewsThorner/Ingold: Are Florida gun laws to blame for this week's school shooting?

Thorner/Ingold: Are Florida gun laws to blame for this week’s school shooting?

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Three teachers and 14 high school students were killed in Wednesday's high school shooting

By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold - 

A former student unleashed a hail of gunfire in a Florida high school on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, killing at least 17 adults and children.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered government flags flown at half-staff through Monday, February 19th, 2018, to honor shooting victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a public school of some 3000 students outside Boca Raton.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie not only closed the school for the rest of the week, but said grief counseling would be offered to students and their families. 

Democrats immediately politicized the Florida school shooting and demanded gun control legislation, even before it was known how the shooter got his gun and whether any proposed legislation would have stopped it.

New York believes it has the answer to school shootings – blame it on Florida law.  Here’s where they’re wrong: 

1.  The right to bear arms is found in the first article of Florida's constitution: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed.   

  • That’s also in the U.S. Constitution and is deterred by the US Supreme Court to apply to all state and local governments.

2. You don't need a permit or license to buy a gun, nor do you have to register a firearm.

  • A few states, including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts require a permit before you can  buy a pistol. Illinois requires a general permit, a Firearm Owner's Identification card.

3. You don't need a permit to conceal carry a rifle or shotgun, although you do need it to conceal carry a handgun.

  • You need a permit to carry a loaded handgun in Florida outside of your property. You can carry a loaded handgun in your vehicle, subject to certain limitations, without a license. Your vehicle is considered your property (aka “castle’). You cannot carry a loaded long gun in your car, nor in public unless hunting with a valid hunting license.

4.  The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must issue a concealed weapons license to an applicant as long as the person meets a certain set of requirements, including being a US citizen, being the age of 21 or older, not having a felony conviction and demonstrates competence with a firearm.

  • The “certain set of requirements” includes a thorough background check through NCIS and the FBI. You must meet all Federal requirements, including those listed in form 4473 for purchase of a firearm. The training class is 4 hours long, and now includes a range proficiency test. License holders have a lower frequency of firearm violations than sworn police officers.

5.  You can buy as many guns as you want at one time, because Florida doesn't regulate that either.

  • And your point is? Outside of B movie westerns, very few people carry more than one firearm, even when licensed to do so. They’re heavy and bulky, and their ammunition likewise. What does it matter of they’re stored at home?

6.  Gun sellers don't have to get a state license to sell firearms.

  • Gun dealers need a federal firearm license (FFL), which has stringent eligibility and record keeping requirements, with regular audits by the BATF. Dealers may need a state business license, subject to state and local laws, including zoning regulations. State firearm sales licenses are designed to increase the cost of doing business, with no demonstrable effect on public safety.

7,  The state does require a three-day waiting period before you can buy a gun.

  • The waiting period is waived if you hold a Florida concealed carry license. In many states, it is waived if you already own a firearm. There is a bill in the Illinois General Assembly to exempt concealed carry permits (I’m not holding my breath). The purpose is to deter guns purchased in the heat of anger. The effect is to require two trips to the dealer.

8.  And Florida does not regulate assault weapons, .50-caliber rifles and large capacity ammunition magazines

  • The term “assault weapon” is a anti-gun dog-whistle, without any functional meaning. “Assault” weapons are designated based on physical appearance, like a pistol grip, barrel shroud or flash-suppressor, which have no effect on lethality. “Large” capacity magazines are known in most states as “standard” capacity magazines. It takes less than 2 seconds (1 sec with practice) to change magazines, so capacity has little significance for lethality. In fact, magazines with extended capacity prove unreliable in critical situations. They resulted in jams in Tucson (Gabby Giffords) and the Aurora CO movie theater, which may have saved lives. Fifty caliber rifles have cartridges the size of bananas, and cost about $5 a round. The rifles themselves weigh at least 25 pounds and are over 5 feet long. Their effective range is less than some smaller cartridges. (.50 BNG are considered as anti-material weapons by the military, not anti-personnel.)

President Trump’s Response to Shooting

President Trump, in his speech on the Florida mass school shooting, was quick to renounce the predictable claim made by Democrats after every school shooting or those occurring at other public venues.  Instead, Trump focused on mental health and school security

The student gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was privy to a very dysfunctional back ground, lacking a stable family situation to draw upon. He had also had been treated for depression at a mental health clinic

There were many signs prior to the shooting that purported to show that Cruz's life was in a dangerous and downward free fall.  As Buzzfeed reported as happening on September 2017: A YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz left a comment on a video stating:  "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." The video's creator alerted both the FBI and YouTube.  

Teen Depression of the Rise

Jean Twenge, a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, has seen seen teen mental health deteriorating over the past five years, when around 2012 something started going wrong in the lives of teens.  As noted by Dr. Twenge in her article of November 14, 2017, With teen mental health deteriorating over five years, there’s a likely culprit 

"In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent."

For Dr. Twenge, all signs point to the screen.   Although realizing that depression and suicide have many causes such as genetic predisposition, family environments, bullying and trauma, and that some teens would experience mental health problems no matter what era they lived in, Twenge noted this Pew Study Center Report as credence to her belief: 

"Smartphone ownership crossed the 50 percent threshold in late 2012 – right when teen depression and suicide began to increase. By 2015, 73 percent of teens had access to a smart phone."

Dr. Twenge further notes in her article:

"Not only did smart phone use and depression increase in tandem, but time spent online was linked to mental health issues across two different data sets. We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online."

In any case, it would be wise for parents to monitor their child's cell phone and computer use for any tell-tale signs of questionable and erratic behavioral signs that could point to mental illness.

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1 COMMENT

  1. FYI-
    stateofthenation2012.com-Valentine’s Day Massacre:
    Here’s why the Florida high school mass shooting was a
    false flag black operation
    activistpost.com-An Armed Cop was on Campus when the
    Florida shooting began-never encountered suspect
    garynorth.com Public School Control Now!