TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Legislation changing who can obtain a gun in Florida is now two steps from becoming law.
Senators, in a 20-18 vote, passed the "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act," which in part, raises the minimum age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21 (this requirement already exists for handguns), bans the possession, sale or use of bump stocks and prevents those deemed mentally unfit from owning or possessing a firearm.
“The opportunity to meet with and listen to survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting as well as the families of the victims has had a tremendous impact on each and every Senator and has significantly influenced the development of this important legislation,” said Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), who sponsored the bill. “We are listening. The Senate hears you and we are taking the appropriate steps to help ensure that a senseless tragedy like this never happens again.”
The measure also includes funding for school security, creates a "Fortify Florida" app for people to anonymously forward tips on suspicious activity, provides $400 million for school districts to address mental health and creates a "marshal program" (modeled after Polk County's sentinel program) allowing teachers to carry firearms into their classrooms in case of an active shooter.
Details: Senate Bill 7026
"This is not the legislation the Parkland students fought for -- this does not go far enough to protect our students from gun violence," Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said. "What's missing is real, comprehensive gun reform that will actually keep us safe, including universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and banning assault rifles. While the Garcia amendment may seem like it takes guns out of the classrooms -- it is still placing more guns in schools by allowing school personnel such as custodians, bus drivers, librarians, counselors, coaches and others to carry."
The bill now goes to the Florida House for consideration. Before possibly becoming state law, the legislature must send a final version to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.
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