Rep. Dennis Baxley, Author of Florida's Stand Your Ground Law, Wants Guns In Schools

Florida's Stand Your Ground law has been a catastrophe, a Wild West throwback that's let killers justify everything from shooting an unarmed teenager for playing loud music to murdering a pizza store customer for complaining about a slice taking too long. So really, if there's one man we should consult for advice in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, it's the legislator behind Stand Your Ground.

What do you say, Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala? "We need to be more realistic at looking at .. all these gun-free zones," he says, adding that grade schools need more weapons in them. Oh Jesus.

Baxley, who bizarrely works as a funeral director when not crafting laws that help people kill each other within the framework of the justice system, spoke at some length about Sandy Hook to the AP.

He implied that, had the heroic teachers who lost their lives in Connecticut merely been armed with their own assault rifles, killer Adam Lanza might have thought twice about attacking the school.

"In our zealousness to protect people from harm we've created all these gun-free zones and what we've inadvertently done is we've made them a target," he tells the AP. "A helpless target is exactly what a deranged person is looking for where they cannot be stopped."

But wouldn't having guns around just make these kinds of tragedies more likely to occur, Rep. Baxley? Kind of like how Stand Your Ground has led to a phenomenal increase in justified homicide cases in Florida?

"If you prepare ordinary people to take responsibility for stopping violence, they do. Otherwise we're just creating more vulnerability," he tells the wire service. "I know that it's very foreign to people that live in a more left and urbanized culture to see how that works, but in fact it does work."

Ah. Thanks for clearing that up.

Before you pack your bags and move to Minnesota, Baxley does go on to add that he's not personally going to sponsor a bill to remove grade schools from the guns-free list in Florida this year, since it would conflict with his committee chairmanship role.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink