Florida Senate Passes Restrictions on Gun Sales

Michael Hein


The Florida State Senate passed a new school safety Bill on Monday evening, which would raise the minimum age to purchase rifles, and also create a program to train some teachers to carry guns in schools.

The bill passed around 6:30 p.m., according to a report by the Associated Press. It is the culmination of a rare weekend session for the senate as part of their rush to pass legislation in response to the historic shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. The outlet reports that none of the lawmakers involved are particularly happy with the bill, as the republican majority feels that it goes too far in restricting gun rights, while democrats feel it doesn't go far enough.

Under the bill, which still has to pass Florida's House of Representatives, the minimum age to purchase rifles will go from 18 to 21 years old. A waiting period will also be instated on the weapons, ensuring that gun-owners don't make rash decisions. Republicans were reportedly displeased with this part of the bill, but caved into pressure and allowed it.

Meanwhile, the bill also marks the beginning of a firearm training program for teachers, which the senate voted to name after Stoneman Douglas High assistant football coach Aaron Feis. Feis has been hailed as a hero since the shooting, after he dove in front of students to shield them, giving up his own life.

The program will reportedly train teachers who volunteer to carry guns on school grounds, with the ultimate goal of having armed deterrents and protection present in the event of another shooting. Only teachers who work in more than one capacity at the school will be eligible for the program. This includes teachers who coach athletic teams or oversee clubs, but not those who strictly work in classrooms.

The bill is reportedly about 100 pages long. Lawmakers have been working long hours trying to get something through by the Friday deadline, and at last passed today's version in a vote of 20-18. Democrats remain disappointed that they couldn't pass a ban on assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines, like the ones used in this and many other mass shootings around the country.

The senate also voted to make Stoneman Douglas High students exempt from Florida's high stakes standardized tests this year.

Lawmakers reportedly agreed that Stoneman Douglas High should maintain it's "A" grade under Florida's school grading system, without subjecting traumatized students to the stress of standardized reading, writing and math tests given each spring.

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