A Times Editorial
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2001
Be forewarned: Republican state Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite is now likely to be armed. And she's not alone. Brown-Waite and more than 15,000 other Floridians have applied for weapons permits since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. People, of course, have a right to own guns. But it's not clear to us what protection a gun affords anyone against terrorist threats.
The invaders we now fear will not come by land or sea. We won't see the whites of their eyes before firing. Anthrax cannot be shot. Smallpox cannot be blasted away. Beyond giving themselves a false sense of security, jittery citizens untrained in firearm use and safety could expose themselves to other risks, including accidental shootings.
The rush to arms only adds to the fear and alarm that are already taxing our emergency response system and our common sense. Shouldn't lawmakers such as Brown-Waite try to be a model of calm in this time of crisis? A return to normal life means not operating as if the next threat is within shooting distance.