The new law would restrict some rifle sales, allow some teachers to carry guns in school, and provide millions of dollars for security upgrades.
Florida lawmakers on Wednesday passed new gun legislation that would restrict sales of some rifles and include a program to arm some teachers in response to the Parkland school shooting that left 17 people dead.
Andrew Pollack, who lost his 18-year-old daughter Meadow in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, told the Associated Press after the vote in the Florida House that he supported the new legislation.
“More needs to be done, and it’s important for the country to be united in the same way the 17 families united in support of this bill,” he said. “My precious daughter Meadow’s life was taken, and there’s nothing I can do to change that, but make no mistake, I’m a father and I’m on a mission. I’m on a mission to make sure I’m the last dad to ever read a statement of this kind.”
The legislation, which passed the state Senate and received final approval from the House, now heads to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for his signature. Scott, who is a Republican, has said he supports most of the bill, but has maintained that he opposes arming teachers. On Wednesday, he told reporters he would “read the bill” and “talk to parents,” but did not say if he would sign it.
His office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.
The bill passed on a 67–50 vote, showing rare compromise between Republicans and Democrats in a typically pro-gun state after a three-week debate. During that time, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have continued to carry the Never Again movement aimed at banning the sale of assault rifles. A week after the Feb. 14 shooting, survivors and activists also marched on the state capitol to demand gun restrictions.
Even though it doesn’t go so far as a ban on assault rifles, students who survived the shooting expressed their excitement on Twitter about the bill passing the Florida House.
The new bill would require a three-day waiting period before purchasing most types of long guns and would raise the minimum age for purchasing them from 18 to 21.
The legislation also designates $100 million to improve school security and another $67 million for a program that allows some teachers and employees, with the approval of the school district and law enforcement training, to carry handguns on campus. President Trump has repeatedly pushed the idea as a way to deter possible campus shooters from entering so-called “gun-free zones.”
The bill also bans the sale of “bump stocks,” which can make a gun shoot at the rate of an automatic weapon. Bump stocks were not used in the Parkland shooting, but were used in last year’s shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead.
The legislation also includes funds to raze and rebuild Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to create a memorial for those who died, to establish mental health programs at Florida schools, and to start an anonymous tip line to report threats. There is also a provision to improve communication between schools and law enforcement agencies.
State officials would also get new powers to take away guns from people deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.
Before the vote took place, the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist sent an “emergency alert” to members to pressure Republican representatives to oppose the legislation, the Washington Post reported.
People saw the passing of the bill as a direct threat to the far-reaching NRA.
Earlier on Wednesday, the shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, was officially charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder, which could mean the death penalty.
Cruz’s public defenders have said he would plead guilty if prosecutors remove the possibility of a death penalty, which prosecutors have 45 days to decide if they will pursue.