Gun debate ahead of midterm elections has new resonance in Parkland

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Mass shootings, such as the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre that left 17 students and teachers dead, are bringing gun debate to the forefront across America.

Both sides of the gun debate are now energized ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in November.

It is especially evident in Florida, following the Parkland shooting.

In March, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun reform bill that included a ban on bump stocks. The bill will also allow some teachers to be armed.

Teen survivors of the shooting are also taking their March for Our Lives message on the road, teaming up with the non-profit voter registration group, Head Count.

The tour will make 75 stops in 20 states to promote gun law reform and enroll young people to vote.

Parents are also taking the initiative and have formed the Families vs. Assault Rifles Political Action Committee.

“We want assault weapons to be banned for civilian use,” said Jeff Kasky, the father of two Parkland survivors. “We’ve got Democrats, Republicans, every single thing in between. We’ve got NRA members.”

Meanwhile, gun store owner Joe Baker believes new gun laws won’t solve the problem.

Baker has worked in firearms for 28 years.

“We’ve got a mental health issue in this country, and until you address it, you’re always going to blame it on something else,” said Baker.

The notion is echoed by Chloe Deaton, a Florida high school student who organized her own pro-Second Amendment walkout this year.

Deaton said she feels more protected with a gun.

“I know how to shoot it. I know how to take care of myself with a gun,” said Deaton. “I grew up around them, so when someone wants to take that away, it’s not really fair.”

The 2018 midterm elections will take place on Nov. 6.

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