Florida Elected Officials Choosing Sides in Gun Debate - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Florida Elected Officials Choosing Sides in Gun Debate

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The heated gun discussion has sparked a wave of admissions across this Country; many choosing sides of the battle line drawn between gun rights and gun control.

Here at home, some elected officials are making clear where they stand on the topic that gets down to one of our earliest established rights.

It's a hot topic and one that poses no easy solution; but Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson urged law makers to meet in the middle.

"There's got to be a balance between people who say you shouldn't have fire arms and those who say you should own a bazooka, and the truth is somewhere in the middle," said Adkinson.

It's an issue that's as divisive as ever, made worse buy a harsh political climate according to Adkinson.

In the wake of gun tragedies like Sandy Hook, potential federal legislation has some gun owners clutching their rifles in fear of losing them.

"I think the important thing to remember when we're talking the second amendment is that while the president exercises executive powers and congress can pass laws. It's up to the courts to determine the constitutionality of those laws," said Adkinson.

In other words, he said he's not coming for your guns unless the constitution changes.

"We're not in the process of kicking in doors for our citizens to take guns from legal owners. What we need to have in this country is a very honest, moderate conversation into what's in the best interest of our people," said Adkinson.

In Washington, Thursday marked the first Congressional hearing into gun violence. Some consider it the first step towards change.

But is gun control the change that is needed?

Republican Florida Senator Don Gaetz said, "No."

"I don't think in that by watering down or eliminating second amendment rights that we're going to be able to deal with the real cause which is crazy people doing crazy things," said Gaetz.

For Democratic Senator Bill Montford, yet another school shooting in Atlanta on Thursday proves something deeper must change in America.

"This is a symptom of what's going wrong in society, so it's a much bigger issue than gun control," said Montford.

As this gun control battle wages on, Adkinson spelled out a simple reality.

"Whether someone does or does not like it is really not the issue. It's their Constitutional right," he said.

At this point, no legislation has been proposed to change gun laws here in Florida. This gun control debate has Florida leading the country in gun sales, soaring 77% in January. Meanwhile, the state of Florida ranks 49th in mental health spending.