TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Senate narrowly passed a bill that would create new restrictions on rifle sales and allow some teachers to carry guns in schools, now it’s time for the House.
The 20-18 Senate vote Monday evening followed three hours of often-emotional debate. Support and opposition crossed party lines, and it was clear many of those who voted for the bill were not entirely happy with it because it did not include the ban on assault style weapons sought by many of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and their families.
The Senate bill would increase the age to buy rifles from 18 to 21, it would ban bump stocks and enact a three-day waiting period for many gun sales. It also creates a marshal program to permit school staff members to be armed after 132 hours of training.
The $400 million package also includes more than $100 million for mental health screening and services and at least $25 million to raze and rebuild the freshman building where the massacre took place.
Some of those services including improving communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies, creating a task force to review mistakes made during mass shootings nationally and recommend improvements in Florida law and establishes an anonymous tip line students and others can use to report threats to schools.
The bill would name the program for slain assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who has been hailed as a hero for shielding students during the school attack. Republican Sen. Bill Galvano said he got the approval of Feis’ family to name the program for him.
The House has a similar proposal but the House bill would require sheriff’s to participate in the controversial marshal program, if school districts order it.
Gov. Rick Scott, who was in Puerto Rico at the time the Senate passed the bill Monday evening, has repeatedly said he does not want armed teachers in schools.
Lawmakers will have to work quickly to get a bill on the governor’s desk.
The legislative session is set to end this Friday.