Former NRA president gives talk at UF Law
By Francie Weinberg
The food was warm and the rhetoric from the former NRA president was hot.
“It just takes one,” said Sandra Froman, former president of the National Rifle Association. “Violent criminals go to where they know there are going to be unarmed victims, like a classroom. And then the rest of us are left without the ability to protect our families.”
The UF Law Federalist Society and CaribLaw sponsored “Gun Regulation, the Second Amendment, and the End to Mass Shootings” on Feb. 6 at UF Law.
The second-floor Holland Hall classroom was filled with students and faculty with food provided by Reggae Shack Cafe. They listened to Froman discuss recent mass shootings, the new national discourse on gun regulation and whether the conflict between individual freedom and safety can ever be reconciled.
Stephen D. Pittman, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer for Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., provided commentary. He focused on why mass shooters behave the way they do, whether these tragedies could be prevented, if gun regulation is the answer, or if the solution lies somewhere deeper in the social psyche.
“I think the biggest myth we’re facing is that our mental health system is somehow sufficient to keep us safe from gun violence,” Pittman warned. “It certainly is not. It is a component to help protect people from themselves and to help protect people from those who are mentally ill and violent, but it is only a piece of the puzzle.”
Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., is a private, nonprofit mental health center that has provided services in Alachua County since 1958. Meridian now serves a 10-county area in North Central Florida. Meridian’s primary focus is on inpatient, residential and outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Pittman has specialized in mental health as an administrator and clinician in adult and juvenile settings over the past 20 years. Pittman currently has operational and clinical oversight for Meridian. He has also worked as a clinical psychologist in private practice and as a mental health educator and consultant. His expertise in mental health and statutory policy issues is also greatly influenced by his 13 years working for the State of Florida’s Department of Corrections and by his service as an expert witness in federal court litigation. Pittman holds two advanced degrees in Counseling Psychology from UF.
Froman has served on the NRA Board of Directors since 1992. She also an NRA-certified instructor. Froman is a practicing attorney in Phoenix where she works on legislative matters. She writes and speaks internationally about the importance of protecting Americans’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and promotes the importance of firearms education especially among women, youth and minorities. Froman graduated from Harvard Law School in 1974 and is on the board of trustees for George Mason University School of Law and the University of Arizona School of Law.