Gov. Scott signs compromise gun control bill

Angelica Greene
March 10, 2018

It also marks Scott's break with the National Rifle Association.

Rick Scott on Friday signed his first bill of the legislative session - a sweeping law that boosts school safety and restricts access to guns - despite it containing a program he opposes, which would allow some teachers to carry concealed weapons on campuses.

The NRA opposed the new restrictions. "The ban is particularly offensive with respect to young women, as women between the ages of 18 and 21 are much less likely to engage in violent crime than older members of the general population who are unaffected by the ban".

The bill also imposes a three day wait on all gun purchases, not just handguns.

NRA Executive Director Chris Cox released a statement that said, "This bill punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual". A recent statewide poll said 62 percent of voters in Florida support a ban on assault weapons.

"Allows law enforcement to seize firearms when a person has been detained under the "Baker Act.' Also prohibits a person who has been "adjudicated mentally defective" or who has been 'committed to a mental institution" from owning or possessing a firearm". It also would create a so-called guardian program, enabling school employees and many teachers to carry handguns if they go through law enforcement training and their school districts agree to participate.

But it does introduce a three-day waiting period on all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, a device that enables semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

The new measures come in the wake of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

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The moment to pass this bill is now.

Florida now joins at least six other states - Georgia, Kansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming - with laws allowing public school employees to carry firearms to work, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"We filed a lawsuit against the state for violating the constitutional rights of 18 to 21 year olds", said Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the NRA in Florida.

However, local sheriffs and individual school districts may opt out and most classroom teachers will be excluded from the scheme. "Please veto the funding and language in the budget that provides for arming school personnel".

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, says the governor is "thoroughly reviewing" the bill. "I think rather than banning specific weapons, we need to ban specific people from having any weapons".

The Parkland parents and students were instrumental in the passage of Florida's first gun restrictions in almost two decades, said Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat who graduated from Douglas High and served on the Parkland city commission.

The $400 million school-safety package includes money for early mental-health screening and services, school resource officers, school-hardening grants, and $25 million to raze and rebuild the freshman building where the shooting spree occurred.

The teen survivors of the deadly shooting have called for gun safety measures in the weeks after one of their former classmates, Nikolas Cruz, gunned down 17 people during his attack in the halls of their high school.

Other reports by GizPress

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