Fatal shooting sparks gun control debate in Gilchrist


Published: Monday, February 4, 2013 at 9:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 4, 2013 at 9:46 p.m.

The Gilchrist County shooting ignited a flurry of activity on the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, with some using the shooting as a pro Second Amendment argument.

"All (I) got to say is may the 2nd Amendment live on and stay strong!" Mileen Johnson said.

"If Obama takes away (our) right to bear arms that poor lady and youngin could have been seriously injured or worse. Thank God someone stopped him," Orlando Roberts said.

Other people lamented the tragedy and said the argument about guns — one which is now a hot national topic — has no place during a tragedy like this.

Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Jeff Manning said the shooting falls under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which states a person can use force when there is a reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.

He said because Kenneth David Drown Jr. of Newberry returned a second time and had already fired a weapon once, he thinks the statute covers the crime.

Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz said he stands with the Florida Sheriff's Association on the issue of gun control — that he will uphold the Constitution, including the right to bear arms, to the full extent of his ability.

But he also said he understood the issue was not as simple as having guns or banning them, and he acknowledged that he's been looking into the issue.

"I think there may be a couple things that we can tweak," he said. "I believe that when dealing with mental health issues, that could be looked at further. Maybe even loopholes as far as who can sell guns or can't could be looked at further, but I'm opposed an to an outright ban."

Schultz said from talking to his constituents, he gets a sense that they're worried about regulations and a possible executive order to pick up firearms.

"I can't say everyone," he said, "but the vast majority of people I talk to."

He said it would do good for both sides to get together and discuss the issue.

"There are things we need to look at, such as verifying who's a felon and who's not, who is mentally capable and who isn't," he said. "We need to get together and look at that. I believe there is a middle ground. It's a matter of getting into the trenches and finding something everyone is comfortable with that doesn't go against the Second Amendment."

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top