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Posted: March 07, 2018

Florida lawmakers send gun control, school security bill to governor

Activists hold up signs at the Florida State Capitol as they march for gun reform legislation on February 26, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. In the wake of the February 14 school shooting that left 17 people dead, hundreds of people joined the Parkland students to call for gun reform. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Activists hold up signs at the Florida State Capitol as they march for gun reform legislation on February 26, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. In the wake of the February 14 school shooting that left 17 people dead, hundreds of people joined the Parkland students to call for gun reform. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

By Sarahbeth Ackerman, WFTV.com

TALLAHASSEE, Florida —

The Florida House followed the state Senate's lead on Wednesday and passed a $400 million plan intended to improve school safety.

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The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Scott, who has not yet committed to signing it into law, saying he will review it "line by line."

"When the bill makes it to my desk, I'm going to take the time and I'm going to read the bill and I'm going to talk to families," Scott said Wednesday.

Scott has repeatedly said he doesn't support arming teachers and had pushed lawmakers to adopt his own proposal, which called for at least one law enforcement officer in every school and one for every thousand students who attend a school.

The 67-50 House vote reflected a mix of Republicans and Democrats in support and opposition. The measure, a response to the shootings at a Parkland high school that left 17 dead, is supported by the victims' families.

The bill would raise the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21 and create a three-day waiting period on sales of the weapons. It would also create a so-called guardian program that would let school employees and many teachers carry handguns if they go through law enforcement training and if the school district decides to participate in the program.

Other provisions would create new mental health programs for schools; establish an anonymous tip line where students and others could report threats to schools, ban bump stocks and improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies.

On the same day the vote happened, students at New Smyrna Beach High School gathered to remember those lost in the shooting three weeks ago at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. 

The students spent two hours before school speaking out against gun violence and holding a memorial for the 17 victims.

The students held a moment of silence for 18 minutes -- 17 to honor the Parkland victims and one to remember another student they lost to gun violence.

Since the Parkland shooting, students, parents and teachers have been taking their concerns to state and federal lawmakers, looking for change.


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