Gun control in spotlight after South Florida school shooting

Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 19:10:12-05

TAMPA, Fla.-- The tragedy in South Florida is touching off an emotional debate about gun control.

There are more guns in America and gun shops than at any other time in our history. The one commonality we found today is that each side feels like the other just isn’t listening.

Something we all agree on is not wanting to see a mass shooting like we saw in Parkland happen again. But when it comes to how we should respond, the disagreement is non-stop.


Paul Schaller is a member of Florida Carry, a nonprofit that promotes gun rights in the state.

“It boils down to there’s no law that we can create today to put on the books that is going to prevent any of this. There’s none. There’s nothing," said Schaller.

He believes gun control measures don’t stop the bad guys and only undermine liberty for the good ones. But Wendy Malloy with Moms Demand Action calls the argument a red herring.

“We are not out to take their guns away," she said. "We don’t want to outlaw guns. We want to institute common sense measures that we know work. We have the data, we have the research. We want to protect our children.”

Her point is make guns harder to get and you’ll have fewer criminals with guns.

“If we can stop one person from getting a gun with intent to harm I want that law in the books," she said.

That’s why she supports universal background checks, mental health screenings and the closing of the gun show loopholes to name a few.

Former Republican Congressman David Jolly says both sides need to work together and actually take action.

“That whether or not the FBI missed this two months ago--the fact is a year ago we knew this young man shouldn't have been able to purchase a weapon. That is a failure that responsible gun owners should recognize and say ‘let’s change the law.’” he said.

We asked Schaller if there was any common ground or area of compromise.

“Anything from their side that would be a gray spot— I haven’t seen it yet. Because all they do is pound on one area and that’s gun control, gun control.” he said.

He’s especially worried about measures that would target semi-automatic weapons or accessories like the bump stocks.

“It is a slippery slope and my concern is if we go in one direction we’re going to continue down that path," he said.

It’s the same accessory the Las Vegas shooter used to transform his gun into what was, in effect, an automatic rifle. But Schaller says— you can do the same with a belt loop. Both sides also agree it's time to have a proper conversation on what to do next.