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As guns are debated inside, National Guard displays 'semi-automatic' 'assault rifles' outside

AK47 AK47It's the annual National Guard Day at the Florida Capitol and one of the features is the display of the weapons used by the trained guardsman.

On display were the AR-47 rifles, sniper rifles, machine guns and guns labeled as "semi-automatic assault weapons." As they displayed the weapons in the Capitol courtyard, the House Appropriations Committee took up and voted down a proposal by Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, to ban the use of semi-automatic "assault weapons" from civilian uses. It failed 19-11 on a party line vote.

Sargeant First Class Clinton Bitzer of Tallahassee told the Herald/Times the Guard has "no opinions towards that [gun debate] but we are just here to show the type of weapons systems that we carry in the military for federal deployment or state active duty." 

"It's a misfortunate event that happened recently and our hearts and prayers go out to people who have lost their lives,'' he said.