Florida lawmakers may let teachers have guns

Mar 08, 2018, 01:37
Florida lawmakers may let teachers have guns

The "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act" would raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21 from 18; require a three-day waiting period for firearm purchases, with some exceptions; ban the sale or possession of bump fire stocks, which allow a semiautomatic weapon to fire more like an automatic weapon; give law enforcement more power to seize weapons and ammunition from those deemed mentally unfit or otherwise a threat; and provide additional funding for armed school resource officers and mental health services.

Under the proposal, school staff members who could be armed must complete 144 hours of training and meet other criteria. The Senate signed off on the measure Monday after Republican leaders rebranded the controversial marshal provision, naming it after a Marjory Stoneman Douglas assistant football coach who died protecting students on February 14. Sen.

Gov. Rick Scott, who was in Puerto Rico at the time the Senate passed the bill Monday evening, has repeatedly said he does not want armed teachers in schools.

The "Fix NICS" bill would penalize federal agencies that don't properly report required records and reward states that comply by providing them with federal grant preferences.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat who is gay, repeatedly tried to add gun restrictions to the proposal and finally offered an amendment that would steer money to create a memorial for the victims of the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

"This is still part of that same theme of taking safe zones and putting guns in them", said Sen. "The mentality that we take what we can get and come back next year and fight for more, I'm sorry".

Meanwhile, the Sun Sentinel reported a second student injured in the shooting has filed a letter of intent to sue the Broward Sheriff's Office, the school system and others. It didn't dawn on me when I went to the school and saw where he had dragged himself out of the building and died in front of the door, it never dawned on me, well, what if he had a gun.

"If this was a secret ballot, this program would be out of the bill", Moskowitz told House members. "When it becomes law, things will start changing".

"We'll let justice take its course at this point", Lewis said.

The Florida House of Representatives rejected three dozen amendments on Tuesday, including a last-ditch bid to strip the bill of any measures permitting school staff to carry guns to work. "We're trying hard, we don't have all the answers but we are giving it our best and we will keep giving it our best".

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has sponsored a similar bill in the Senate, although senators are expected to turn first to a bill strengthening the federal background checks system for gun purchases. Tom Lee, a former Senate president who was one of six Republicans -- along with Dennis Baxley of Ocala, George Gainer of Panama City, Denise Grimsley of Sebring, Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange and Greg Steube of Sarasota -- who voted against the measure, predicted the House would accept the Senate's language.