During a news conference on Friday, Florida Governor Rick Scott stated that he is proposing changes for Florida’s gun laws and a half a billion dollars be allocated for school safety and mental health initiatives. The announcement comes after Scott organized emergency meetings with mental health experts, law enforcement officials, school administrators and students earlier this week.
The tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead and many other injured, has reopened the topic of gun laws. Scott laid out his “major action plan” including:
- Limiting the sales of all firearms to age 21 or older (with exceptions for military and law enforcement)
- Complete ban on “bump stock” accessories
- Violent threat restraining orders
- Mandatory law enforcement officer(s) in every public school
“I’m an NRA member, a supporter of the Second amendment, and the First amendment, and the entire Bill of Rights for that matter. I’m also a father, and a grandfather, and a governor,” he said. “We all have a difficult task in front of us balancing our individual rights with our obvious need for public safety.”
Scott’s proposals for the state will include training for safety officers and staffing for mental health professionals and programs for students.
The money will also go toward strengthening the integrity of the school buildings, including placement of metal detectors, bullet-proof glass, steel doors, and upgraded locks.
The Florida Gov did not echo President Trump’s recommendation to arm teachers. “I disagree with arming teachers. I think you have to bring in law enforcement,” Scott said.
Spokesperson for the NRA, Jennifer Baker, said Wednesday that it would challenge any attempt to raise age limits for weapon purchases. “Passing a law that makes it illegal for a 20-year-old to purchase a shotgun for hunting or an adult single mother from purchasing the most effective self-defense rifle on the market punishes law-abiding citizens for the evil acts of criminals.”
Although federal law bans those under age 21 from buying a handgun, current Florida state law allows 18-year-olds to purchase rifles, including semiautomatic weapons.