The Florida Senate is held a rare Saturday session, discussing legislation aimed at making schools safer following the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 14 students and three faculty members dead.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, has pushed a bill to enhance criminal background checks, a bill requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation to tell states when someone fails a background check, a program for intervening when children are potential threats, and some form of temporary gun-violence restraining order. Sen.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott has been lobbying lawmakers to pass his plan to assign at least one law-enforcement officer for every 1,000 students at a school.
State Sen. Linda Stewart, a Democrat who introduced the amendment to ban assault weapons, said on the Senate floor that ammunition from assault weapons can blow up inside the victim's body and that there is no reason for anyone to have them. Another amendment, to remove the proposal to allow school districts to train and arm teachers, failed on a 20-18 vote, with Republican Tom Lee of Thonotosassa joining Garcia, Flores and the Democrats. Democratic lawmakers attempted to put the gun restriction into a bill, SB 7026, that would invest money in mental health and school safety programs. Many also oppose arming teachers.
Require trigger locks and lockboxes for firearms.
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Democrats want to ban weapons such as the AR-15 assault-style rifle, which was used to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14.
"The substance of our bill is still the same", Galvano said. "The reason it is not being included is not because of constitutional law".
The Republican-led Senate also killed compromise measures, such as a ban within five miles of a school, a moratorium on assault weapons, or even a moratorium just on the AR-15, the type of semi-automatic rifle used in the Stoneman Douglas shooting. "Never again. Please ban assault weapons".
The two-year moratorium was approved by a voice vote, but 15 minutes later, the motion was reconsidered and overturned by a margin of 21-17 in a roll call vote.
Lee became the most vocal critic of the plan, trying and failing to remove both the gun control elements and the plan to arm school personnel calling them "a bumper sticker for November".