Florida passes law allowing some school staff to be armed

Florida governor signs gun control bill dubbed 'baby step' by students

A federal lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association Friday claims that Florida's new law raising the legal age to purchase firearms imposes an "unequal and impermissible burden" on the Constitutional rights of young adults.

Rick Scott signed into law a $400 million suite of legislative reforms to school security, mental health and gun-control measures - a direct response to the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.

The newly passed Florida bill widens age restrictions by making it illegal under state law for anyone under 21 to buy any firearm, including rifles and shotguns, from any source. It also creates a so-called guardian program enabling some teachers and other school employees to carry guns.

The bill does not ban selling or owning semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 assault rifle Nikolas Cruz used to massacre 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, north of Miami, on February 14. Florida's teachers' union and the National Rifle Association are opposed.

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"I need my teachers to teach". Calls came from students hiding in classrooms and parents who were getting calls and text messages from their children. "Three shot in her room". "This blanket ban violates the fundamental rights of thousands of responsible, law-abiding Florida citizens and is thus invalid under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments".

Districts can meet the requirement through a combination of deputies and guardians, a loophole critics of arming school staff feared lawmakers would exploit to avoid paying the bill for the public safety program they designed. "No, I don't!" said Democratic Sen. "You're over 18, you serve in the military, you should be able to buy a gun", Bay County resident Clifton Williams said.

"What makes me most proud is the school safety bill", Scott said after the session wrapped on Sunday.

In more recent years the Supreme Court has also allowed other state-level restrictions on gun ownership to stand: an assault-weapons ban in Maryland, a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases in California and a ban on the open carrying of guns in Florida, to name a few.

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Sen. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican and one of the main sponsors of the legislation, says he expects Scott will sign it. "Florida hasn't passed any legislation like this in God knows how long".

Democrats alike said there were parts of the bill they didn't like.

"The reason it did not pass - make no mistake about it - wasn't because of the absolute over the top, Herculean effort on behalf of the House to fix that problem", Corcoran said after the session ended.

Congress tried to respond after the 2012 massacre of young schoolchildren in CT with dozens of gun-safety bills, but the NRA stood in the way, blocking all of them. Prosecutors have not announced a decision.

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"Sheriffs have to sign it on... school boards have to sign it on... and no individual is going to be forced to do it", he added. "This is the first step in saying never again". Other law enforcement officers desperately tried to treat the injured, lock down the school and locate the shooter.

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