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Obama, Teachers React to Shooting

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Congress to make it as easy to get mental-health care as it is to get a gun. Meanwhile in Florida, teachers said “No thanks” to the idea they should pack heat.

In other reaction to last Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a Florida senator filed a bill to tighten loopholes in the “Stand Your Ground” Law.

And former Gov. Charlie Crist said he now thinks the government should impose “some reasonable restriction” on guns.

A sober-faced President told the press he would make gun control a “central issue,” calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips,  McClatchy Newspapers reported.

Obama also said mental-health care must be more accessible and that the nation must fight against the flood of violent images in pop culture. He appointed Vice President Joe Biden to head a commission to come up with specific legislative  proposals to go to Congress in January.

Meanwhile, school officials and teachers in Florida said “No thanks” to the idea that they should carry guns so they can shoot back if attacked, as theTampa Bay Timesreported.

“I got a very simple answer: Are you crazy?” said Joe Vitalo, president of the teachers’ association in Hernando County. “The last thing you want to do is to put weapons into hands of people who aren’t fully trained.”

The idea was floated by State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who said shooters targeted schools because they are gun-free zones.

Another lawmaker, Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, introduced a bill that would let police arrest a shooter if he had gone out of his way to kill someone he perceived as threatening, such as by pursuing him. The details are at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.  

And finally, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who used to be a Republican and a staunch supporter of gun rights, has had a change of heart now that he’s a Democrat, The Florida Currentreports.  Crist is thought to be considering a 2014 run for the office he once held.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.