Reporting Tim Kephart
South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Barack Obama took on the issue of gun control head on Wednesday, but Governor Rick Scott is not ready to move ahead with any new gun laws in Florida just yet.
Scott was on CNN’s Turning Point Wednesday morning and said instead of talking about the possibility of new gun control laws, people should be focusing on the families that were impacted by the mass murder in a Connecticut elementary school last Friday.
“I think the right thing that we ought to do is what you have been doing and that’s respect these families and this community,” Scott said. “Second, what I’ve done in this state is ask every one of our schools to go back and look at our safety precautions and let’s make sure every parent feels comfortable.”
When the host of the program, Soledad O’Brien, tried to pin Scott down on exactly what he would support as governor; Scott avoided giving a direct answer to the question.
“There will be plenty of time to think about things we might should deal with. Is there mental illness things we have to deal with, things like that,” Scott said.
Scott continued, “I support the second amendment. I believe in the second amendment. What I want to focus on right now is the families; make sure our state schools are safe; and in our state we’re at a 41-year-low in our crime rate, so we’re doing the right thing in our state. I think when anything happens like this you step back and ask what can you do better?”
Former Governor Jeb Bush said the idea of more officers in schools is already in place in Florida.
“We have school resource officers in almost every school,” said Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, “and I hope we still do and we should…professional who are there to protect children, it’s the ultimate form of policing.”
The key in what former governor Jeb Bush said was “almost every school” has school resource officers or SRO’s. But elementary schools are mostly left out, there was never a big need.
“Now there’ a tremendous movement among parents, teachers, elected officials to have more school resource officers at the elementary level.” said Democratic Florida State Sen. Eleanor Sobel. “Right now they’re just sharing them. “
Sobel and State Representative Elaine Schwartz, both democrats, both from Hollywood are pushing the plan to beef up S-R-O’s in Florida schools. The idea is gaining support in Tallahassee.
But with tight budgets all over, the question is who will pay to keep those armed officers in school.
“It’s always been a funding issue,” said Sobel. “Is it the city, is it the school board, is it the state’s responsibility? And I’ve also heard it’s a federal responsibility.”
Representative Schwartz said one interesting idea is to look at gun violence in school as a health issue, an epidemic, opening the door to bigger budgets in health spending.
“My point is that it adds a new dimension for funding because it is a health issue,” said Schwartz.