New Gun Laws Stir Up Old Debate in Florida

Students at Florida colleges still can't bring guns to their campuses. But in a victory for gun-rights advocates in the state, doctors could face disciplinary action, including the loss of their medical licenses, if they ask their patients whether they own guns, according to News Channel 5 in Tallahassee.

Originally, gun-rights advocates in the state had hoped that a new Florida law would allow college students who have concealed carry licenses to take their firearms onto campus, according to a report from FOX 35 News.

This change to Florida's gun laws, though, won't happen. Instead, students are still forbidden from bringing any guns to college campuses.

Students had mixed feelings about the proposed legislation. The FOX 35 story, for instance, quoted a student who said that he'd feel safer on campus if he was able to bring a concealed gun to his classes. Other students quoted in the feature took the opposite stance, arguing that they'd actually feel less safe if their fellow students would be allowed to carry concealed weapons.

The new law that prevents doctors from asking their patients if they own guns - which became official once Governor Rick Scott signed the bill - has generated a generous amount of controversy, too.

A state senator told News Channel 5 that he couldn't see any reason for his doctors to ask him if he had a gun in his home. A doctor quoted in the same story, though, argued that it should be every doctor's right to discuss safety issues - including gun ownership - with their patients. He said that the new law actually infringes upon doctors' First Amendment right to free speech.

Another new Florida law - which takes effect in October - fines city and county officials who adopt gun or ammunition laws that are stronger than those already imposed by the state. News Channel 5 reports that county or city officials found in violation of this new law could face a fine of up to $5,000.

The new Florida laws certainly won't settle the long-running debates between those who favor more gun control and those who would like to see fewer restrictions. Nor will it change the way prosecutors and law enforcement officials aggressively pursue gun crime cases.