TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Less than a week after a gunman used a semiautomatic rifle to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the Florida House on Tuesday turned down an attempt to take up a bill designed to prevent the sale and possession of “assault” weapons.
“The next death of someone with an assault rifle, here in Florida, is going to be on them,” said Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student, Sheryl Acquarola, who was there during the vote and was seen breaking out in tears when the vote came in.
The bill (HB 219) was filed in October but has not been heard in House committees.
Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, used an unusual procedural move Tuesday to try to pull the bill out of committee and hear it on the House floor. He said the move stemmed from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, a massacre that has refueled a national debate about gun control.
The House did not debate the merits of the bill because McGhee’s motion involved a procedural issue. The motion failed by a 36-71 vote.
The South Florida representatives that voted against considering an assault weapon ban were: Jose Oliva, Jeanette Nunez, Holly Raschein, Daniel Perez, Michael Bileca, Bryan Avilla, Carlos Trujillo, and Manny Diaz Jr.
Nikolas Cruz, who has confessed to the school massacre, used an AR-15 rifle, a type of weapon that would be covered under the bill.
A Senate version of the bill (SB 196), filed by Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, also has not been heard in committees.
Meantime, a Florida Senate committee has endorsed a proposal to put law enforcement officers in every school in the state.
Only slightly more than half of Florida’s more than 4,000 public schools have the resource officers. They are sworn law-enforcement officers and allowed to carry a weapon on a school campus.
The Senate Education Committee voted Tuesday to include the requirement in a sweeping education bill that is now moving through the legislature.
The proposal is expected to also be part of a comprehensive gun bill that Senate Republicans plan to release later this week. GOP leaders drafted the legislation in response to the high school massacre.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”