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USA - Gun Control: Florida, the 'Gunshine State,' tries on new role: gun-control bellwether

Jake Decardenas, a Daytona Beach 20-year-old, may not have had his gun taken away. But his attempt to buy a BB gun for his younger brother at Walmart the other day failed.

He is one among tens of thousands of young Floridians who had their gun rights curtailed in March in a state that, to a large extent, has defined the modern American gun rights movement.

For Mr. Decardenas, the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has prompted a personal reconsideration: notably that it is important to him that the state restrict gun purchasing more – even though that may drive some purchases underground.

Polls and interviews suggest Decardenas is not an outlier when it comes to being open to new restrictions. The Parkland tragedy jarred many Floridians. The state is at the heart of America's gun movement, with booming gun manufacturing, liberal gun laws, and a cultural reverence for the Second Amendment.

But the Parkland shooting – and the election of Donald Trump – is subtly changing the political dynamics even on the Gun Coast, where nearly 700 gun manufacturers hold licenses to build custom weaponry. Florida has long been a testing ground for expansion of gun rights. With the gun industry facing its first serious headwinds in two decades, experts say shifts in perception and policy in Florida could, once again, lead the way.

Read more: Florida, the 'Gunshine State,' tries on new role: gun-control bellwether

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