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Tags: florida | lawmakers | gun reform | congress

Florida Lawmakers Showed That Gun Reform Possible

a march against gun violence is held in new york city in 2018
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 30 May 2022 03:02 PM EDT

Florida lawmakers already have shown that unlikely gun reform is possible.

Then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed a $400 million school safety law three weeks after a gunmen killed 17 people in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Florida's bill raised the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21, imposed a three-day waiting period on most long-gun purchases, and created a "red flag" law allowing authorities to confiscate weapons from people deemed a public threat.

The law had its detractors on both sides of the issue.

Democrats, saying the law did not go far enough, pointed to the fact it failed to include a ban on some types of semi-automatic rifles such as the one used in the Parkland shootings. They also opposed an initiative that allows teachers and school staff to be trained as armed "guardians."

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion P. Hammer condemned Republicans backing the bill as "betrayers," The Washington Post reported.

Former Democrat state Rep. Jared Moskowitz, in speaking with the Post, recalled some conversations he had after the Parkland attack.

"There’s no way Rick Scott is raising the age to 21. The NRA is opposing it. They’re threatening Republican members. These guys are all A-rated. Marion Hammer is the strongest NRA lobbyist in the country. No way, no way, no way is it going to happen," Moskowitz told the Post. "And then it happened."

There's now speculation if something similar could happen in Congress after Tuesday's mass school shooting that resulted in 21 deaths, including 19 students, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Republican senators last week told the Post that they had little interest in producing a wide-ranging bill such as what passed in Florida.

"None said they are open to a federal waiting period. Some are curious about 'red flag' laws but skeptical about their implementation on the federal level," the Post said.

As for age limits with rifle purchases, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told the Post, "I don’t think that’s on the table."

Scott, now a senator, said he did not favor passing a federal version of the Florida law.

"It ought to be done at the state level," Scott said. "Every state’s going to be a little bit different … it worked in Florida, and so they ought to look at that and say, Could that work in their states?"

Still, Scott described the Florida bill’s provisions to his senate GOP colleagues on Wednesday, and spoke to Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the lead Democrat gun legislation negotiator, on Thursday.

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Florida lawmakers already have shown that unlikely gun reform is possible.
florida, lawmakers, gun reform, congress
Monday, 30 May 2022 03:02 PM
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