Gun Safety Debate Escalating from Colorado to Florida

UPDATE 7:45PM: After over 6 hours of testimony overwhelmingly opposed and lent emotional weight by last week’s school shooting in Florida, “guns in schools bill” dies in the House State Affairs Committee.


UPDATE: Testimony is set to go late into the night in the Colorado House State Affairs Committee–but for much of the hearing on the first bill up for debate today, HB18-1037 to allow concealed weapons on school campuses, Republicans on the committee (seats right) were reportedly absent:

Seems like a dereliction of duty to us.


Victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last week (via CNN)

The Colorado legislature is largely focused today on debates about ill-timed gun rights legislation from Republicans, but a similar scene is unfolding across the country.

The New York Times reports on a quickly-growing movement in Florida:

The campaign ads are already blaring, attacking Florida Republicans for supporting pro-gun laws. Now students — survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — have traveled by busloads hundreds of miles to protest at the State Capitol.

Seven days after the killing of 17 people at the Broward County school, Republicans, who dominate government in the state, are facing pressure unlike any they have experienced before to pass legislation addressing gun violence. The State Legislature is in session for roughly two more weeks, and Republicans have concluded that it would be catastrophic to wrap up without doing something to address the mounting outcry.

The debate now is over what counts as doing enough. [Pols emphasis]

Republicans split — sharply, and sometimes face to face — with student demonstrators over that question on Wednesday morning.

As the Washington Post reports, right-wing conservatives recognize that this new group of activists, in the form of Florida high school students, are a force to be reckoned with:

The American right is officially terrified of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. [Pols emphasis]

Those students, who rapidly turned themselves into activists and organizers after 17 of their fellow students and teachers were murdered at their school, have become the most visible face of this new phase of the gun debate, and conservatives are absolutely livid about it. As a consequence, they’re desperately arguing not just that the students are wrong in their suggestions for how gun policy should be changed, but also that they shouldn’t be speaking at all and ought to be ignored.

There are two critical reasons the right is having this reaction, one more obvious than the other. The plainer reason is that as people who were personally touched by gun violence and as young people — old enough to be informed and articulate but still children — the students make extremely sympathetic advocates, garnering attention and a respectful hearing for their views. The less obvious reason is that because of that status, the students take away the most critical tool conservatives use to win political arguments: the personal vilification of those who disagree with them.

Also on Wednesday, President Trump met with families affected by school shootings to hear their perspectives on the change that is needed. From CNN:

President Donald Trump heard a series of heartfelt stories and pleas for change during a meeting Wednesday with people affected by some of the nation’s highest-profile deadly school shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in last week’s Florida shooting, said he was speaking Wednesday because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children,” he said. “This shouldn’t happen.”

He asked how it was that America could protect its airports, its concerts, its embassies and even the elevators at the Department of Education, but not its schools.

“How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I’m not going to sleep until it is fixed. And Mr. President, we’ll fix it. Because I’m going to fix it. I’m not going to rest,” he said.

“My beautiful daughter, I’m never going to see her again. It’s simple. Let’s fix it,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

Support for gun control policies in the United States has never been higher, according to one recent polling estimate. Will our elected officials actually reflect that desire for change?

22 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    Trump's solution to school shootings: arm teachers with guns

    Donald Trump has said he will consider a proposal to arm school teachers in an attempt to prevent mass shootings, a move certain to prove fiercely divisive.

    The US president, holding a listening session at the White House with survivors of last week’s Florida school shooting and others affected by gun violence, claimed that allowing airline pilots to carry and conceal guns had demonstrated the measure could be a success.

    “It only works when you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many,” Trump said during an emotionally searing session that, extraordinarily, was broadcast live on national television. “It would be teachers and coaches.”


    Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2016


    • unnamed says:

      This is the stupidest idea ever.  It was a dumb idea when I first heard it about 5 years ago and it is dumb now.  So, of course Cadet Bone Spurs would embrace this dumb idea.

      Did I mention it is the stupidest fucking idea ever?

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Well, it might have competition from the proposals to allow gun nuts to follow their residence's laws wherever they go, no matter what the ACTUAL locality says. Or the other one which suggested that people should be allowed to carry in bars.

        Of my teachers from long, long ago, I probably would have trusted a few to carry weapons — a former FBI agent, a 20+ year army veteran who had been teaching recruits for about half of that time, and one of the PE coaches who was a part-time deputy sheriff as his "extra" job. Others? not so much. The one who kept having animals in her classroom get out. Or the nice lady who dropped her handbag on the floor at least once a week.

        Daily Kos feature GUNFAIL has a whole series of ways adults do stupid things with weapons. They aren't killed and don't kill every time — but there are a disturbing number of accidental shootings and "friendly fire" episodes that should give everyone a great deal to think about before putting guns in schools.

        • mamajama55 says:

          Some educational consultants could get paid thousands of dollars to come up with alliterative slogans or acronyms with the school's name that incorporate the concealed-carry meme:

          "Rigor, Relevance, Relationships…and Rugers".

          "Growth, Grit, and Gusto….and Glocks"


          • Meiner49er says:

            An ironic +100 to you, Mama!

            How about good old "readin', writin', range in."

            • mamajama55 says:


              I've broken up some fights in schools over the last 15 years in education.  I can't think of any of these that wouldn't have been made worse by an untrained teacher pulling out some heat on the participants. That's including the one in which a kid was stabbed in a crowded cafeteria.

              And as far as classroom control, if a teacher can't command respect with interesting activities, with voice and posture and consistency and fairness, then they're not going to be able to command respect by packing a pistol.

              Yesterday, we again had interesting conversations about our safety plans – supply closet or blockade door with desks? When to shelter in place, when to jump out the window?

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    claimed that allowing airline pilots to carry and conceal guns had demonstrated the measure could be a success.


    WTF is this yammering dipshit blargling about?  Pilots with guns?  (Who?) Demonstrated success? (When?)  Was this on FOX recently? KFC Movie of the Week? Another country, maybe?

    Air Marshals I understand and get, but what does Commander Fuckface even imagine he’s thinking about, here?

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Ok, Ok, in fairness to General Bonespurs, I had completely forgotten about this crackshot program, and it’s notable results:

      No armed pilot has had to use a gun to defend against a threat since the program started in 2002. There has been one accidental discharge of a gun in the cockpit of a US Airways flight while the airplane was on approach to land. There flight landed safely. In another incident a JetBlue pilot lost his hand gun when it was picked up by a passenger who mistakenly picked up the wrong backpackcontaining the locked weapon at John F. Kennedy airport in New York. The passenger realized she had the wrong bag after boarding her flight and returned it to a flight attendant.


      On March 24, 2008, a US AirwaysFFDO's gun went off on Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte, North Carolina. No one was injured and the aircraft landed safely.[3]According to the FFDO, the gun fired while he was trying to stow it. The bullet went through the side of the cockpit and tore a small hole in the exterior of the plane. The plane was pulled from service for repairs.[4]

      On January 13, 2011, a JetBlue FFDO's bag carrying his gun was accidentally picked up by a passenger flying to West Palm Beach, Florida. When the passenger realized the bag wasn't hers, she notified a flight attendant. The FFDO's firearm was appropriately locked and secured and could not have been accessed or fired even if found.[5]

      In June 2015, a United Airlines FFDO threw live ammunition in the trash, then flushed it down a toilet on an international flight from Houston to Munich.[6]

      But, I’m sure that some day an armed pilot will blow away a Muslim passenger somewhere, sometime . . . 

      . . . and, isn’t that just exactly the kind of “success” we’d all like to see at your local MAGA elementary school?!?



  3. Old Time Dem says:

    Trump had a cheat sheet at the meeting to remind him how to act like a human being. Number 5 was "I hear you."

    The President of the United States can’t even act like he has any empathy unless his staff tells him how to do it.

    As a nation, we are truly fucked.

  4. DaftPunk says:

    Beyond the Constitutional trump card of the Second Amendment, and silly arguments about being able to fight off the government with your AR, I'd like to hear a justification for the constituency that feels that violence is always an acceptable solution, and unrestricted ability to wreak lethal violence on your fellow man is the ultimate expression of constitutional liberty. It speaks to a sickness of the soul.

  5. skeptical citizen says:

    Repeal the Dickey Amendment.

    We need research-based facts to construct appropriate policy. The current gun control discourse allows the powerful NRA propaganda to prevail.

    Senator Heinrich of New Mexico has an online petition to repeal Dickey.

    I can only hope that Senator Gardner would also post such a petition. Unlikely to happen, given that over his political career he has received $3,879,064 from the NRA. (NY Times 10/4/17)


  6. Moderatus says:

    Minority Leader Neville met with the President today. Wouldn't it be great if we got armed teachers without having to ask Colorado Democrats for permission to protect our children?

    • unnamed says:

      Of course you would support that idea it's the stupidest idea I've ever heard. How do you want to fund the training for these teachers? Would you be willing to give them combat pay? What happens if some teacher with issues decides to use their gun on someone? What if the teacher improperly secure their gun and students get their hands on the gun? Do you ever think? Are you fine with people dying? It's a dumb idea and you're an idiot for supporting it.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Did each of them have crib notes to help during the meeting? 

  7. spaceman65 says:

    Eff you, Moddy.  My mother taught school for many years.  The last thing she would have wanted to do was to carry a loaded firearm anywhere near her kids.  You are a fucking joke.

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