Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs gun control bill after Parkland school shooting

Isaac Cain
March 10, 2018

"Females between the ages of 18 and 21 pose a relatively slight risk of perpetrating a school shooting such as the one that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, or, for that matter, a violent crime of any kind".

Cruz gunned down students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history.

After the bill signing, United Airlines captain Tony Montalto, whose daughter, Gina Rose, died in the school shooting, read a statement on behalf of the victims' families.

But it marked, for a Republican governor, a rare break with the National Rifle Association. Among other things, the legislation raises the legal age for gun purchases to 21, institutes a waiting period of three days, and allows for the arming of school personnel who are not full-time teachers.

The bill also includes $400 million for expanded mental health, new school safety programs and replacing the high school building where the shootings took place.

The bill is not what numerous survivors of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, wanted, which was a blanket ban on assault weapons for the general public. "I'm going to be an NRA member when I'm not governor", Scott said. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said the same. Scott says he wants to take his time and talk to the affected families. "I believe he'll sign it today".

It was greeted hours later by a federal lawsuit from the National Rifle Association.

The bill creates the guardian program that would enable school employees and many teachers to carry guns if they go through law enforcement training and their school districts agree to participate.

From left Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and East Hartford School Superintendent Nathan Quesnel
From left Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and East Hartford School Superintendent Nathan Quesnel

In schools, the measure also creates new mental health programs and establishes an anonymous tip line for reporting threats.

"There will not be enough funding ... to actually fund a law enforcement officer in every school", the superintendents said.

In a statement Thursday, NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer called the bill "a display of bullying and coercion".

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.

Scott wants more school resource officers instead of teachers with guns.

"I called on the Legislature to give me a bill that will allow us to make our schools far safer, allowing for a much greater law enforcement presence and for hardening our school buildings", Scott said. "Florida hasn't passed any legislation like this in God knows how long".

The legislation, while containing a number of other provisions student activists and their parents from Parkland had embraced, left out one of their chief demands - a ban on assault-style weapons like the one used in the February 14 rampage.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 killed, called on other states to follow Florida's lead. He was scheduled to make his initial appearance before a judge via video conference on Friday on the attempted murder charges added this week by the grand jury.

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