Florida Department of Law Enforcement chief Rick Swearingen got blindsided when pitching a new counter-terrorism task force to the Senate Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.
Swearingen was describing why his department needs $6 million to hire 46 agents when Republican Dennis Baxley demanded to know if another answer to terrorism is a better-armed public.
“Do you not see a nexus between these events occurring routinely in gun-free zones? You mentioned the whole aspect, of, the public has to play a role. You can’t be everywhere and detect everything that’s fixing to happen," Baxley said.
Swearingen said the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando might have turned out differently if a victim had been armed, but he avoided mentioning controversial bills expanding the right to carry firearms in public.