After Florida mass shootings, the Republican-controlled state Legislature acquiesced on moving the age of purchasing guns to 21, but Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., noted that people 18 and over can still buy a gun with a parent present and that gun laws should remain a state issue.
"We've got some very responsible 18-year-olds, and then we've got some irresponsible 18-year-olds," Scott said on "The Hugh Hewitt Show," noting he made the proposal after meeting with law enforcement and parents in Parkland, Florida.
"And I said I'm not going to take away their rights to own a gun, have a gun; but they're, basically, it has to be, you cannot buy it by yourself. You have to be with your parents. You cannot buy it until you're 21. You can own it, but you cannot buy it by yourself."
Parents can be the best judge of their young adult children's mental fitness to own firearms, then-Florida GOP Gov. Scott believed.
"I'll work with anybody to make sure no one's gun rights are taken away, but if you're threatening harm to yourself or somebody else, you've got mental illness — come on, you can't have access to a gun," Scott said.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act of 2018 is being viewed as a model for new federal gun laws after the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting left 19 children and two teachers dead last week.
But Scott added that Democrats in Congress should leave it to the states to make the laws for their constituents, instead of a one-size-fits-all plan Democrats have federally.
"Anything you do like this ought to be done at the state level, because then it can get changed at the state level and every state’s different," Scott said, noting he is still working with grieving Parkland parents "to try to get some federal legislation done."
Those federal laws, though, will be more about hardening and securing schools than taking away Americans' right to bear arms, Scott said.
Something "like a clearing house to codify," he said. "We have a clearing house to tell parents what are the best practices, is your school doing it?"
"There’s some logical things we could do, but let's focus on, Don't take away guns," Scott said. "Let's focus on school safety. But look, if you are threatening harm to somebody, including me, your kids, anybody, I mean, why do you have access to a gun? There ought to be a due process. You go through the law enforcement, it goes through the courts, it should be temporary, but there's a way to do that.
"I don't want a kid, we don't want any child in this country ever to be shot again. This is horrible."
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