Leaders Gather in Broward To Focus on School Safety

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the first thing she did when she returned home after the Sandy Hook school shooting was hug her kids

By Gilma Avalos
|  Friday, Jan 11, 2013  |  Updated 7:32 PM EDT
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Elected officials came together for a gun safety roundtable discussion Friday. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho spoke about school safety at a news conference. Meantime, gun seller Louis Nerys, who is preparing for a gun show in Fort Lauderdale, spoke about responsible gun owners.

Elected officials came together for a gun safety roundtable discussion Friday. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho spoke about school safety at a news conference. Meantime, gun seller Louis Nerys, who is preparing for a gun show in Fort Lauderdale, spoke about responsible gun owners.

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In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut, elected officials and Broward law enforcement officers came together to talk safety Friday.

"When I got home from Washington that night, the first thing I did was hug my kids,” Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said.

The meeting of the minds was aimed at keeping children safe in their second home – school. One suggestion was to have a school resource officer present.

"It’s not the only solution, but making sure that you have that deterrent, and making sure that you have that law enforcement presence there,” Wasserman Schultz said.

The discussion wasn't limited to Broward County. Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho said safety in and out of schools is paramount.

"I have buried 44 children who have died violent deaths in Miami, all of them on the streets of Miami, not in schools,” Carvalho said, as the congresswoman shook her head. “This has to stop, and it begins with good people carving out common ground around what’s important in our communities.”

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The national conversation surrounding gun safety and violence is growing. And this weekend a prolific gun show, the Suncoast Gun Show, is coming to Fort Lauderdale.

Louis Nerys, who is preparing for the show, said his gun sales have increased by 21 percent since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

"I think people are becoming more responsible and see the need to store their weapons,” he said. “Anybody who’s a responsible gun owner will want to secure their weaponry.”

Around the site of the gun show, multiple signs warn that no loaded gun clips and no ammunition are allowed inside. The contract between the city of Fort Lauderdale and Suncoast Gun Collectors shows that Suncoast pays more than $38,000 to host eight of its shows at the War Memorial Auditorium, which is city property.

That does not sit well with people like former Fort Lauderdale mayoral candidate Earl Rynerson, who has blogged about wanting city officials to nix the contract.

But Mayor Jack Seiler said the contract was signed before the tragedy in Newtown, and the city will not breach it. He said he does however plan to reconsider the location of future gun shows, not because the War Memorial is city property, but because of its proximity to the families and children at the nearby park.

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