Fla. governor signs school-safety bill


Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a far-reaching school-safety bill Friday 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.

Just hours later, the NRA responded with a federal lawsuit seeking to block a provision of the new legislation.

Surrounded by family members of the 17 people 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 gun-friendly Republican lawmakers.

Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was killed in the shooting, 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 fell short of achieving the ban on assault-style weapons sought by survivors. The gunman who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School used such a weapon, an AR-15 rifle.

Nevertheless, the bill 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 enabling some teachers and other school employees to carry guns.

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