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.