Florida lawmakers pass school-safety bill in rare session


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Senate spent hours debating a bill to increase school safety and restrict gun purchases in a rare weekend session that often turned into a debate on gun control and arming teachers in the aftermath of last month's Parkland school shootings.

The Senate spent nearly eight hours today debating dozens of amendments to the 100-page bill before finally approving the legislation for a final vote on Monday.

Democratic proposals to ban assault rifles and large-capacity magazines were rejected, as was a Democratic proposal to strip language from the bill that would create a program to arm teachers who have gone through law-enforcement training if school districts choose to take part in the so-called marshal plan.

The Senate began the session at 10 a.m. and was originally supposed to wrap up discussion by 1 p.m. But senators extended the session and didn't wrap up until after 6 p.m.

It was clear that senators were divided on the bill, and not just on party lines. While crafted by Republicans, some GOP senators still opposed it because they don't agree with raising the minimum age to guy a rifle from 18 to 21 or requiring a waiting period to buy the weapons.

Democrats believe the legislation doesn't go far enough in some ways and too far in others. And while some oppose the bill, others believe it's at least a first step toward gun safety.

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