Florida Senate votes to arm teachers, rejects assault weapon ban
School shooting survivors in uproar as only two Republicans back ban plan
The Florida Senate today “drew the ire” of gun control campaigners by rejecting a proposal to ban assault weapons but backing plans to arm school teachers.
The state’s Senate is due to vote on gun legislation that would create a programme for arming teachers, raise the minimum age for buying a rifle to 21, and pour millions of dollars into mental health schemes, USA Today reports.
However, Democrat-proposed amendments to the bill that would have imposed a ban on assault weapons was voted down, by 20-17, along with a plan to allow police to seize weapons from people who are the subject of a domestic violence injunction.
Only two Republicans joined the Senate’s 15 Democrats in supporting the ban proposal, says Reuters.
An amendment that would have removed a provision allowing some teachers to be trained to carry firearms in the classroom was also rejected.
The decision comes just weeks after 17 people were killed in the deadliest high school shooting in US history, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooter, Nikolas Jacob Cruz, used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to carry out the massacre - a gun that would have been included in the failed assault weapons ban.
Following the Senate vote, Stoneman Douglas student Jaclyn Corin tweeted: “This breaks my heart, but we will NOT let this ruin our movement. This is for the kids.”
State lawmakers observed a moment of silence in honour of the shooting victims shortly after rejecting the ban.
But Corin tweeted: “A MOMENT OF SILENCE WILL NOT SAVE THE LIVES OF INNOCENT AMERICANS.”
“Florida is not disheartened by the pathetic choices made by our lawmakers,” added fellow student Cameron Kasky. “We’re simply excited to kick them out and save our own lives. ... We have a very clear understanding of who’s with us and who’s against us.”