Florida Passes First Gun Control Measures in Years


Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Florida Governor RIck Scott signed “the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” into action on March 7th.

On March 7, Governor Rick Scott signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act that passed the Florida House 67-50. Governor Scott’s signing of the bill represented a break in his support of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which filed a lawsuit directly after the bill was signed into law, citing violations of the Second Amendment.

Public response to the bill was mixed, despite its inclusion of provisions such as mandatory waiting periods before gun purchases, a 21 and older age requirement to buy an assault rifle, a ban on bump stocks, more funding for school security, and an expansion of mental health services and regulations.

The bill stirred controversy because it included a provision that allows teachers to be armed, a proposal that has long been supported by the National Rifle Association, but has been widely criticized by students and families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Shooting survivor and activist Emma Gónzalez expressed her anger at the proposal on 60 Minutes, saying “If the teacher dies [and] a student who’s a good student is able to get the gun, are they now held responsible to shoot the student who’s come into the door? I’m not happy with that.” Florida House Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith thought it simply didn’t go far enough. “I’m really upset about it,” he said. “Gun safety has been one of my most important issues.” Many of his fellow Democrats agreed, and reaffirmed their support for pushing a full ban on assault weapons.

Some lawmakers and students heralded the law as a step forward, no matter how small. Senior Hannah Saunders said, “The bill definitely has some questionable provisions to it, but it’s a step in the right direction and represents a beginning to what is a larger movement of legislative change.”


Sources: The Orlando Sentinel, The New York Times, The Sun Sentinel, Advocate.com, CNBC, NPR

Photo Source: Flickr