TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The Florida Senate on Monday will consider landmark guns legislation that would create a program for arming teachers, raise the minimum age for buying a rifle to 21 and pour millions of dollars into mental health programs.
An amendment backed by Democrats to include a ban on assault weapons did not make the bill. Also rejected was an amendment to allow police to seize weapons from someone under a domestic violence injunction.
The proposed legislation drew the ire of some survivors-turned-advocates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, scene of the Feb. 14 shooting rampage that continues to reverberate across the nation.
“The @FLSenate has rejected the ban of AR-15’s, the weapon of choice used at my school to kill 17 souls,” tweeted student Jaclyn Corin. “This breaks my heart, but we will NOT let this ruin our movement.”
Corin called out the lawmakers for observing a moment of silence in honor of the shooting victims after rejecting the ban on assault weapons.
“A MOMENT OF SILENCE WILL NOT SAVE THE LIVES OF INNOCENT AMERICANS,” Corin tweeted.
The students pledged to press their case at the polls — although some of the so-called “theater-kid” student leaders will remain too young to vote.
“Florida is not disheartened by the pathetic choices made by our lawmakers,” tweeted student Cameron Kasky. “We’re simply excited to kick them out and save our own lives. … We have a very clear understanding of who’s with us and who’s against us.”
The school marshal program, which would be made available to districts that want it, would arm school staff members and teachers who volunteer for the program and obtain more than 130 hours of training. The Florida Education Association encouraged its member teachers to urge state senators to reject the plan.
GOP state Sen. Dennis Baxley, however, said such a program could have stopped the shooter.
“On Valentine’s Day we needed someone who was brave, someone who cared, who had a firearm,” Baxley said.
The bill also would designate about $100 million for student mental health programs and several million dollars for school security upgrades.
Dozens of other amendments supported by Democrats failed to make the bill. Some of them would have:
— allowed family members to take out risk protection orders designed to keep people who could harm themselves or others from purchasing guns.
— required trigger locks and lockboxes for firearms.
— created a statewide gun registry.
— required a mental health examination for anyone looking to obtain a concealed carry permit.
— banned assault weapons within five miles of a school.
Bacon reported from McLean, Va.
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