March 17, 2018

Florida Senate Approves Gun Control Package, OKs Arming Some School Personnel

08 March 2018, 01:35 | Ross Houston

Higher education bill includes eliminating free speech zones | Miami Herald

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The bill also bans "bump stocks" that allow semiautomatic weapons to fire more rapidly; increases the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 and imposes a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases. It also includes $67 million for a controversial "school marshal program" - named the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, in honor of the football coach who died protecting students - that would allow school employees to carry concealed weapons on campuses after completing 132 hours of training under the auspices of a sheriff's department. The Senate signed off on the measure Monday after Republican leaders rebranded the controversial marshal provision, naming it after a Marjory Stoneman Douglas assistant football coach who died protecting students on February 14. Sen.

If the bill is approved by the Senate it will head to the House for a vote before heading to Gov. Rick Scott's desk.

Referring to the school safety bill, Hoyer said, "We ought to put additional protections, not just for students, but people in theaters, nightclubs, shopping malls and churches alike".

"The goal is to make sure the instructional personnel who are in the classroom can not participate in the program", said Sen.

"Kyle is still dealing with memories of the terror he felt when his classroom was locked and he was stuck in the hallway during the shooting", the statement said. The House bill authorizes $50 million annually, and does not provide funding for school security infrastructure improvements, as the Senate bill does.

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Representative Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, said the House floor should be opened to a wide-ranging debate on gun measures. "That we've gotten somewhere", he said. "This will be messaged as, you're pulling teachers out of guns in the classroom, but that is not what is going on here".

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and the lead sponsor of the background checks bill, said Tuesday he is frustrated that lawmakers keep attempting to add gun-related proposals to his bill, a relatively modest measure that would bolster the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It will be one of those areas that we will be able to look back and say we did something.

The couple were "trying to do the right thing" and were mourning along with the rest of the Parkland community, Lewis said. Democrats didn't like the idea of letting teachers carry guns, even if the bill was amended to water down that proposed program. The bill now goes to the House, which has a similar bill awaiting consideration by the full chamber.

Meanwhile, House members spent almost three hours asking questions about legislation, which would put some restrictions on rifle sales, provide new mental health programs from schools and improve communication between school districts, law enforcement and state agencies. Tom Lee, a former Senate president who was one of six Republicans -- along with Dennis Baxley of Ocala, George Gainer of Panama City, Denise Grimsley of Sebring, Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange and Greg Steube of Sarasota -- who voted against the measure, predicted the House would accept the Senate's language.

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