DELRAY BEACH, Fla. -
State. Sen. Maria Sachs says she has new inspiration to pass gun control legislation.
"People don't feel safe going to the mall. They don't feel safe in a movie theater," said Sachs. "And goodness, what are we doing if we can't protect our kids in their schools?"
Last year, her bill banning concealed weapons in government buildings, polling places and schools never saw a vote in the Republican-led state legislature.
But after Sandy Hook, she says she's working to build a coalition of south Florida legislators who would push for a statewide assault weapons ban and limit the number of rounds in a clip.
"We do it as a group. I don't think any party affiliation has anything to do with this," said Sachs.
But Richard Feldman - a longtime gun rights activist - says she'll never get it through Florida's powerful gun lobby, which has helped legalize concealed weapons and the Stand Your Ground Law.
"I'd make book on it that nothing will happen," said Feldman, the head of the Independent Firearm Owners Association.
Further, Feldman says state law should go in the opposite direction that Sachs is proposing.
"As unpleasant as it sounds, as awkward as it may be, maybe it's time that we think about allowing some teachers, if they so choose, to be able to carry guns in class," said Feldman.
As lawmakers and lobbyists gear up for a discussion that has a new, harrowing backdrop, police departments say there's no doubt that guns are a growing factor.
"We are coming into contact with more firearms related calls. They have tripled in the last four years," said Palm Beach Co. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
But there is some common ground.
Sen. Sachs and Richard Feldman agree with one another on this point:
That Sandy Hook is proof that mental health services must be made available to more people and that the stigma of needing help needs to be erased.
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