Lawmakers Consider a $500 Million Proposal to Change Florida Gun Laws

The proposal, which aims to arm teachers, does nothing to curtail the availability of high-capacity magazines and assault rifles.
February 26, 2018
3 mins read

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has prompted Florida lawmakers to think carefully about Florida gun laws.

After 17 people were killed in the shooting on Feb. 14, the governor has proposed changes to Florida gun laws, aiming to make the state a safer place.

Gov. Rick Scott plans to adjust the legal age to buy guns to 21. He would also like to station trained safety officials at every school, train teachers to use guns and limit the ability of those with mental illnesses or violent tendencies to buy weapons.

Scott plans to put $50 million toward more resources for mentally ill students as well as strengthen gun safety by incorporating the Baker’s Act, which allows involuntary hospitalization of those who pose a threat to the public.

The proposal would also require new safety installations including “metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors, and upgraded locks.” The bill would also establish funding to require access to mental health counselors to provide counseling services to students.

Although some students support this step in the direction of more gun control, it is not enough for some Marjory Stoneman Douglas students who survived the shooting.

David Hogg is proposing students boycott Florida and should not travel to the state for spring break, with the hope that this will call attention to the need for gun control in Florida.

“My message to lawmakers and Congress is please take action. Ideas are great. Ideas are wonderful and they help you get reelected and everything, but what’s more important is actual action and pertinent action that results in saving thousands of children’s lives,” Hogg said in an interview with CNN.

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg are calling for substantial changes to Florida gun laws (Image via CNN)

Talia Rumsky told AP reporters that the adjustments would be an improvement but that there is still much more to be done to solve the issue of gun violence. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will continue to advocate for students’ safety and for changes to Florida gun laws.

“This is a great first step and we appreciate it,” Rumsky told AP reporters. “But it’s not enough and we’re going to make sure they know it’s not enough and is not solving our problems.”

The plan would still allow “high capacity magazine” weapons and “assault weapons” to remain legal in the state.

Oscar Braynon, a Democratic Florida senator, said “so long as these high powered weapons of war remain available for purchase these killings will continue.”

The proposal, which would result in school teachers carrying guns, may lead to more responsibility than teachers may want to take on.

Robert Runcie, the superintendent from Broward, said, “I am totally against arming teachers. They have a challenging job as it is.”

Although President Trump said that the presence of guns in schools, when held by teachers and trained officials, would deter those looking to harm students, the majority of arguments for gun control thus far have been against using more guns to combat gun threats.

“If they’re not gun free, if there are guns inside, held by the right people, by highly trained professionals, you’re going to see this end. It won’t be happening again. Our schools are essentially gun-free zones and that makes them very dangerous places,” Trump said.

This controversial view, however, may not stand as survivors of the shooting continue to advocate for changes to Florida gun laws that are in accordance with gun control rather than increased regulations for guns.

Gabriella Evans, Northern Arizona University

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Gabriella Evans

Northern Arizona University

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