With only a week left in this legislative session, state legislators are surprisingly still struggling to agree on new regulations that will protect students from gun violence in public schools.
Since the murders of 17 students and teachers at Douglas High School, thousands of protestors took to the capitol in Tallahassee demanding stricter gun laws for those looking to purchase guns in the state.
Last Saturday, senators held a special weekend meeting to debate Senate Bill 7026 which is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. If passed, this bill bill raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21, require a 3-day waiting period for most gun purchases and ban bump stocks.
It will also give law enforcement the power to take weapons from those who are mentally unfit and it will provide additional funding for armed school officers and mental health services.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott said, “We will also strengthen gun purchase and possession restrictions for mentally ill individuals under the Baker Act. If a court involuntarily commits someone because they are a risk to themselves or others, they would be required to surrender all firearms and not regain their right to purchase or possess a firearm until a court hearing. We are also proposing a 60-day period before individuals can ask a court to restore access to firearms.”
Governor Scott has been highlighting his actions plan to make major changes to help keep Florida students safe, including a $500 million investment in school safety and mental health. The Governor’s proposal followed emergency meetings he organized with law enforcement, school administrators, teachers, mental health experts and state agency leadership as well as meetings the Governor hosted with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Scott proposed bullet proof windows and steel doors in public schools. Scott said, “This week we asked law enforcement leaders, education leaders and health leaders from all over the state to drop what they are doing, clear their schedules and immediately get up to Tallahassee for urgent conversations about what we can-and must do-to make our schools and communities safer. We must take care of our kids.”
One thing that was not proposed by the Governor but has already been voted down is the complete ban of assault and assault-style weapons and an amendment to create a firearms registry although over half of Floridians are in favor of banning the weapons.
Nationally, the President is pushing for arming teachers in public schools which has been highly controversial. Last week an armed teacher fired a gun which left one student injured in Georgia.