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Survey: Floridians Favor Gun Screenings; Oppose Police Drones


More data is coming from the annual Sunshine State Survey.

This time, it shows that 85 percent of Floridians want people buying a gun or getting a gun license to get mental health screenings first.

Susan MacManus, the survey director and a political scientist at the University of South Florida, says that almost all Floridians agree on this issue.

"This is probably the most solid and most consensual opinion that we've seen in virtually the entire Sunshine State Survey," she says.

This fifth annual survey of Floridians also shows that women were most in favor of the screenings.

McManus says this information highlights how Floridians are linking mental health and recent mass shootings.

"When the perpetrator or the accused is finally captured and you peel back, what do you see almost always?" she says. "There is a link to some kind of mental health problem."

Only three percent of the 1,200 adults surveyed had no opinion on this issue.

Data coming from the survey also shows that Floridians are uncomfortable with police officers using drones.

Ninety percent of those surveyed think wearing a body camera is a good policy, but believe drones are invasive. MacManus says some Floridians think the policy crosses a line.

"Some people see it as a privacy issue, an invasion of privacy," she says. "And others see it as more of a way of catching criminals and those are two very different opinions."

Those in favor of drones has increased from 26 percent in 2014 to 31 percent this year.

MacManus says this is because of shifting opinions on protecting rights.

"There's been a lot of attention to the erosion of individual rights and attention to privacy," she says.

The survey says those in favor of drone use are generally older adults with full-time jobs and an income of at least $75,000 a year.

The survey says those in favor of drone use are generally older adults with full-time jobs and an income of at least $75,000 a year.

The survey is conducted by the University of South Florida and the Nielsen Company.

WUSF News intern Ariana Matos is a senior studying mass communications at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Before joining WUSF, Matos worked at the USF’s student newspaper, The Oracle, as a correspondent and as editor of the Lifestyle section.
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