Friday, March 9, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a far-reaching school-safety bill today that places new restrictions on guns, cementing his state's break with the National Rifle Association and decades of Republican thinking on gun control in the aftermath of the Parkland high school attack.
Surrounded by family members of students killed in the shooting just over three weeks ago, the GOP governor said the bill balances "our individual rights with need for public safety."
"It's an example to the entire country that government can and has moved fast," said Scott, whose state has been ruled for 20 years by Republican lawmakers who are friendly to gun owners.
Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was killed in the attack, read a statement from victims' families: "When it comes to preventing future acts of horrific school violence, this is the beginning of the journey. We have paid a terrible price for this progress."
The bill is less than what many survivors had sought. It raises the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21, extends a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns and bans bump stocks, which allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire.
It also creates a so-called guardian program that enables some teachers and other school employees to carry guns.