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Democrats Unveil New Gun Bills Tuesday With MSD, Pulse Survivors

Law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Feb. 15, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. A day earlier a gunman opened fire in the school.

Parkland and Pulse shooting survivors are in Tallahassee Tuesday calling on lawmakers to address gun violence.

Democratic legislators are unveiling new measures that build on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, approved after last year’s February 14th shooting. That law raised the age to buy a long gun to 21. It added a three-day waiting period to buy guns and bans bump stocks.

Democratic lawmakers want an expansion of Florida’s “red flag” program, which allows law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from those a judge believes are a threat to themselves or others. The updated bill, would allow families to petition the court.

Carlos Guillermo Smith is an Orlando Democrat in the Florida House.

“We need to care about gun violence not only when it happens in our schools and to our kids, but when it happens out in the street, in places like Pulse nightclub,” Smith said. “We can’t pick and choose which gun violence victims we care about and which we don’t.”

Brandon Wolf was at Pulse the night of the 2016 shooting that left 49 dead. He will be at the unveiling. He said lawmakers need to take a comprehensive look at the issue of gun violence.

“People like to say that wouldn’t have stopped Pulse from happening. That wouldn’t have stopped the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” Wolf said. “Well nobody ever said one law in particular is going to end gun violence in this country. We have to take a comprehensive approach, and that’s why you’re going to hear several pieces of legislation talked about.”

Other bills expected to be discussed include a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks and allowing schools more flexibility to use state money to harden schools.

Last year, the Legislature allotted $67 million for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program, which allowed armed staff — but not teachers — in public schools. Most of that money, $57 million, has not been spent.

Republicans have filed a bill that would expand that program to allow teachers to be armed in classrooms. The Legislative session starts in March.


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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »

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