Sen. Greg Evers this morning postponed discussion of a controversial gun bill (SB 234) that, among other things, would allow people to carry weapons onto college campuses after the father of a killed Florida State University student showed up to oppose the bill at a Senate committee hearing.
Ashley Cowie, a 20-year-old sophomore studying interior design, was killed January 9, 2011 at a fraternity party when another student accidentally discharged a rifle, according to police. Dr. Robert Cowie described the incident during emotional testimony, telling the Senate Criminal Justice Committee that a bullet from an AK-74 went through his daughter’s chest and struck a second student. He held back tears as he said how Ashley’s identical twin sister Amy tried to perform CPR at the party to keep her alive. Amy was “looking at the whole in her sister’s chest with blood gushing from her mouth and she knew she was already dead,” Cowie said. “But she felt compelled to do something.”
Alcohol was found in the system of the shooter, 20-year-old Evan Wilhelm, police said.
“Allowing guns in an atmosphere of college parties puts everyone involved at increased and undue risk,” Cowie told senators. “Would you feel more or less at risk today if I were carrying a gun?”
Guns on college campuses — where combinations of young people, drugs and alcohol are common — are a bad idea. As Dr. Cowie notes:
“Allowing guns in an atmosphere of college parties puts everyone involved at increased and undue risk. Each young man in that fraternity that knew that weapons were present and had been brandished in the past will have to live with the guilt that they could have prevented this tragedy.”
Cowie’s testimony succeeded in delaying, but probably not preventing, passage of the bill. However, if you want evidence of the overwhelming power of the National Rifle Association, it’s hard to beat this one, also out of Florida:
“A controversial gun bill, strongly backed by the National Rifle Association and strongly opposed by doctors, passed through the Senate Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday morning.
SB 432 would not allow doctors to ask patients whether they own a gun. An offending doctor would be charged $10,000 for the first offense, at least $25,000 for the second offense, and a minimum of $100,000 for the third offense. Psychologists and psychiatrists dealing with emergency psychotic episodes would be exempt.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, passed 4-1. Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland was absent, but Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando voted as an ex-officio member. Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Sunny Isles cast the lone dissenting vote.
Doctors turned out in force to oppose the measure, saying it hampers their ability to evaluate patient safety…
But Marian Hammer, a National Rifle Association lobbyist and former national president, said doctors are pushing an anti-gun agenda on their patients and intruding on their Second Amendment rights.
“A growing political agenda is being carried out in examination rooms,” Hammer said. “It has become about the politics of some medical doctors, and it has to stop.”
Doctors can’t even ask about gun ownership? A $10,000 fine for simply daring to raise the question?
– Jay Bookman