FLA. GUN BILL | UPDATE: Florida House committee approves new gun legislation


PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — A Florida House committee responded to the Parkland school shootings by approving a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy any gun, require a three-day waiting period for rifle purchases and create a program that could allow some teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

The 23-6 vote today followed more than four hours of emotional discussion, including from parents of some of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a former Parkland vice mayor, said he didn't like the bill, but still voted for it. He explained, "It doesn't go far enough, and now it goes too far in other areas. But the NRA opposes it, and I will not vote with the NRA."

His views reflected many of those who testified before the committee, saying they wanted a ban on assault rifles the committee rejected, and that they opposed the idea of arming teachers.

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PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Nearly two weeks after a shooting at a high school killed 17 people, the Florida Legislature is debating a school safety bill.

House Republicans today rejected Democratic-filed amendments that would ban assault weapons, strip language that would allow some teachers to carry guns in schools and require a mental-health examination before someone could buy a gun.

The House appropriations committee is considering a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21 and creates a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases. The bill would also create a program that allows teachers who receive law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff's office to carry concealed weapons in the classroom if also approved by the school district.

Unlike Monday, when hundreds of sometimes rowdy protesters jammed a Senate meeting to consider a similar bill, today's proceedings were more orderly. But still, several speakers spoke in favor of the assault weapons ban, including Parkland resident Amber Hersh.

"Our children lost a friend. Our friend lost a daughter. This is your opportunity. The world is watching," she told the committee.

The amendment to ban assault weapons was rejected on an 18-11 vote.

The Senate Appropriations Committee was going to take up a similar bill later in the day.

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