Florida House passes gun control, school safety bill

Florida House passes gun control, school safety bill

March 7 (UPI) — The Florida House on Wednesday passed a bill that includes some gun control measures and more public safety resources in response to the mass shooting that killed 17 people at a high school last month.

Gun control measures in the bill, which passed 67-50, include a ban on bump stocks, increasing the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 and a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases.

Democrats tried to add an amendment that would ban assault weapons, but it was voted down.

To improve public safety in Florida’s schools, the bill allocates $400 million to hire more school resource officers and mental health counselors, and install extra safety equipment, including more security cameras, metal detectors, bullet-proof glass and automatic locks and locking devices.

Another controversial aspect of the bill is funding for an optional program that would allow some school personnel, such as librarians and coaches, but not teachers, to carry firearms on school campuses.

“This is an idea that will result in loss of life, however well-intentioned, because it’s almost a fog of war situation, and the people who are there are not soldiers and they are not law enforcement,” Democratic state Rep. Joe Geller said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Democrats proposed several amendments to get the program taken out of the bill, but failed.

The bill now goes to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who would not tell reporters if he intends to sign it.

“When a bill makes it to my desk I’ll do what they don’t seem to be doing in Washington — I’m going to review the bill line by line,” Scott said.

Florida lawmakers crafted the bill in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, during which former student Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and faculty members.


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