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NRA Lobbyist Backs Gun Limit on Mental Patients

It’s safe to say that most of the recent mass shootings have been perpetrated by men with serious mental problems. Who in his right mind could turn automatic weapons on innocent people going about their business in malls, offices, schools and movie theaters?

So it was good news the other day when Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill to close a loophole in Florida gun laws that permitted some persons with mental illness to buy guns. But not everyone agrees with that statement. The governor’s office was flooded with almost 25,000 emails urging him to veto the bill.

Why would anyone want to allow mentally ill people to buy guns? Because the bill applies to people who have voluntarily submitted themselves to mental health exams or treatments. The old law allowed such people to buy guns once they are released from mental health institutions. The new law requires a judge and doctor to concur that an individual is no longer a danger to himself or others in order to get off the database of those prohibited from buying a gun.

To the surprise of many, even Marion Hammer wanted Scott to sign the bill. The longtime National Rifle Association lobbyist seldom gets behind any restriction on gun ownership, but even she could see the sensible justification for this one. In fact, she and her allies flooded the governor’s office with 200,000 emails asking Scott to sign the bill.

As was noted in our Village Square forum on guns held on May 22nd, (http://bit.ly/120hazK) the Second Amendment‘s guarantee of the right to bear arms is not voided by reasonable restrictions to protect public safety. No “right” is absolute; no “liberty” is open-ended. Preventing harm to others seems a reasonable limitation.

By David Klement

Executive Director, Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions

St. Petersbug College



Photos are in: Students, Safety & the Second Amendment

All photos: Bob Howard. To watch the video or listen to the audio of the program, click here.



If you missed last week’s forum on gun control, catch it tonight @7pm on WFSU 88.9 FM

WFSU_10The Tallahassee Democrat and the Village Square co-sponsored a forum last week on gun control – “Students, Safety and the Second Amendment” – featuring a great panel encompassing a dynamic range of opinion (or how discussions should be). If you couldn’t make it, be sure to tune into WFSU-FM 88.9 FM tonight at 7pm. After the program airs, you can also listen to the program online (or by podcast, yes… we have a podcast) HERE. Find the program details along with the Tallahassee’s video stream of the program online HERE.



Faith, Food, Friday’s Rabbi Jack Romberg has a new blog

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Part of the concept of The Village Square is to have the conversation – as neighbors, as a community. I hope you’ll take a moment to check out Temple Israel’s Rabbi Jack Romberg (and Faith, Food, Friday “God Squad” founding member) contribution to that conversation “The Jewish Observer” HERE. Rabbi Romberg writes about topics like our Faith, Food, Friday forums – he wrote about our topic “The Most Segregated Hour” HERE, about “Social Justice” HERE, and our recent Tallahassee Democrat forum topic of guns HERE and HERE.

(And – pssst…. if you miss this weekend’s Jewish Food Festival at Temple Israel, you have only yourself to blame…)



Did you miss Thursday’s forum “Students, Safety & the Second Amendment”? Watch the full forum video here.



Tallahassee Democrat: Gun debate stays civil at community forum

coming-events-gunsThursday’s Tallahassee community conversation about firearms did its job in opening the dialogue on how student safety and the Second Amendment play off each other on a local level.

The panel, made up of local community leaders in school safety, law enforcement, faith, education and law addressed an American culture that hinges on violence.

“Being an American community, we are addicted to violence, especially gun violence,” said panel member Rev. Brant Copeland. “We have invited violence into our culture. Why should we be surprised that we can’t protect our children from violence?” Read the whole article in the Tallahassee Democrat here.



Bob Gabordi: Forum to address gun rights and school safety

gabordi_bobIn case you didn’t see it yesterday, read the Tallahassee Democrat’s Bob Gabordi on our upcoming forum on guns, sponsored by the Democrat and the Village Square.

“Living in America, I have long believed, is about the art of defending the rights of those with whom we most strongly disagree. Now, I would add, it is also the art of sitting down with and engaging in conversation with those same opinion holders.
We hope that is what we will do as a community Feb. 28 as the Tallahassee Democrat and Tallahassee.com join with The Village Square to present a public forum and discussion on “Students, Safety and the Second Amendment.”

Read the entire post at Tallahassee.com and register for the forum here.



Florence Snyder: Guns (and journalism) in your neighborhood

4421313274_b02a8a08deNews does not have a virgin birth. It is not delivered by the Stork.

News is midwifed by people whose egos are large enough to support the notion that what they think is important is what all of us should think is important.

It worked pretty well when the news was delivered exclusively by editors and broadcasters who had spent decades earning the respect of the communities in which they reported.

These days, the bonds between journalists and communities are frayed. Established media brands change beat reporters and sometimes ownership as frequently as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends.

Pressured to squeeze bigger profit margins out of shrinking staffs, some publishers confuse old school muckraking with just plain muck. Read all »