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  HOME | USA

Florida Lawmakers Approve Gun-Control Bill, Pass It to Governor to Sign

MIAMI – The Florida House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a bill that would allow for more restrictions on gun sales following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a school in Parkland which left 17 people dead, and passed it to the Florida governor for his signature.

The bill seeks to raise the minimum age for the purchase of assault rifles from 18 to 21 years, increase gun safety in schools as well as allocate some $400 million for the implementation of the new measures.

In Washington, D.C., the Senate Democrats held a meeting with families of the victims of various mass shootings and gun violence at the Capitol on Wednesday.

The meeting under the theme “America Speaks Out: Protecting Our Children from Gun Violence” discussed ways to neutralize the National Rifle Association’s (NRA), the major pro-gun lobby in the US, influence over politicians.

The bill in Florida came three weeks after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, and marks the first gun-safety bill to reach a governor of Florida in the last 22 years.

However, in order to be fully ratified, it still needs the signature of Governor Rick Scott, who has yet to announce his decision on whether he will sign or veto the measures.

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

Both the Florida House of Representatives and Senate approved the measure after listening to the survivors as well as the families of the victims of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland. It was the third mass shooting in Florida since June 2016, after the Orlando nightclub shooting left 49 dead and the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting left another 5 dead in January 2017.

The bill would also allow some teachers and classroom staff to carry guns and establish a three-day waiting period as well as a background-check procedure for firearm purchases.

On Feb. 27, Scott announced that $500 million would be allocated for the implementation of safety measures in schools, and disagreed with the idea of arming teachers, proposed by US President Donald Trump in response to the Parkland mass shooting.

The governor of Florida suggested that one police officer should be deployed in each school for every 1,000 students instead.

 

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