House to debate bill to reduce violence in schools

Violet Powell
March 10, 2018

Great news for the first amendment in Florida, assuming the bill survives Florida's Senate, of course. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, who has been the Senate's point-person on the issue. He's been jailed since the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he was once a student.

Scott has repeatedly said he doesn't support arming teachers and had pushed lawmakers adopt his own proposal, which called for at least one law enforcement officer in every school and one for every thousand students who attend a school.

The legislation also creates marshal programs, allowing for certain staff members to be armed if they fulfill more than 100 hours of firearm training. Other school personnel would be eligible to participate.

Under the amended Senate bill, classroom teachers would be excluded from carrying guns to work unless they were part of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps programme or members of the U.S. military or former police officers.

Representative Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, said the House floor should be opened to a wide-ranging debate on gun measures. The House has yet to take up its version of the bill. The Florida legislature ends its session on Friday.

The Florida Legislature passed a similar bill a year ago, but it was vetoed last summer by Scott.

"Obviously, this amendment (to exclude some staff members from being allowed to be armed) is a step in the right direction".

Lawmakers backed - by 20 votes to 18 - a three-day waiting period for any gun purchase and the raising of the legal purchase age to 21.

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As per the new legislation, the minimum age limit to purchase a rifle has been raised to 21 from 18 - and, if someone is looking to purchase a firearm, they will have to experience a waiting period of a minimum of three days, with some exceptions. "He brought this up during his meetings with legislators today".

One of those teachers, Aaron Feis, a football coach who was killed using his body to shield students from bullets was honored Monday by the Senate by naming its marshall program the "Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program".

Porter also criticized her colleagues who've said that lawmakers should listen to the Stoneman Douglas students who took buses to Tallahassee and lobbied for gun safety legislation.

The change better aligns the Senate's proposal to what Parkland students and Gov. Rick Scott want: Not arming teachers.

"We must be the last families to lose loved ones in a mass shooting at a school".

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".

"We should start with what's achievable and what will actually save lives", Cornyn said on the Senate floor, referring to his bill. "We have a lot further to go, but progress is progress and that's not to be denied", Douglas student and outspoken activist Delaney Tarr posted on social media.

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