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Lawmakers pass gun-school safety bill

Friday, March 09, 2018

Florida state lawmakers gave final passage on Wednesday to a gun-safety bill that would raise the legal age for buying rifles, impose a three-day waiting period on all firearms sales, and allow the arming of some public school employees.

The package was spurred by the shooting rampage three weeks ago that killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and led to an extraordinary lobbying campaign by young survivors of the massacre.

But the legislation, while containing a number of provisions student activists and their parents had embraced, left out one of their chief demands — a ban on assault-style weapons like the one used in the February 14 massacre.

Supporters defended the bill, saying that most school shootings, which have occurred with a frightening frequency in the United States during the past few years, are committed with handguns.

The measure will automatically become law within 15 days unless vetoed by Governor Rick Scott, a Republican. A spokeswoman for Mr Scott said on Tuesday he had not yet decided whether to support the bill.

The bill overcame strenuous objections to provisions permitting school staff to carry guns on the job. Critics see that as posing a particular risk to minority students who they say are more likely to be shot in the heat of a disciplinary situation or if mistaken as an intruder.

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