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  HOME | USA

Florida Lawmakers Quash Bill to Ban Assault Weapons

MIAMI – The lower house of the Florida legislature declined to consider a bill outlawing the sale of semi-automatic weapons despite a public clamor for action after a shooter armed with an AR-15 assault rifle killed 17 people last week at a high school in the southern part of the Sunshine State.

The Republican-controlled body voted 71-36 against bringing to the floor a measure submitted last October by Rep. Kionne McGhee (D-Miami).

Sitting in the gallery were survivors of the Feb. 14 bloodbath at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, who were unable to hide their pain and disappointment with the result of the vote.

Around a hundred students and teachers from the school traveled Tuesday to Tallahassee, the state capital, to push lawmakers to pass stricter gun control measures.

The confessed shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was able to legally purchase the assault rifle from a gun shop.

Referring to the 71 lawmakers who voted down the motion, Douglas student Sheryl Acquaroli, 16, told CNN that the next death caused by an AR-15 will “be on them.”

The Parkland massacre has spurred the creation of a movement of young people, Never Again, which calls for stricter gun control and is planning a large demonstration to be held in Washington on March 24.

The incident at the high school was the third mass shooting in Florida in less than three years.

In June 2016, 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando by Omar Mateen, an American of Afghan origin armed with an assault rifle, who said he was acting in the name of Islamic State before being shot dead by the police.

Five died in January 2017 when Esteban Santiago, a US Army veteran of Puerto Rican origin with mental health problems, opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol on people waiting for their luggage at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. He is awaiting trial in jail.

 

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