The Associated Press is reporting that the National Rifle Association has filed a federal lawsuit over Florida legislation that raises the age to buy guns from 18 to 21. "At 18 years of age, law-abiding citizens in this country are considered adults for nearly all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights".
Gov. Rick Scott was flanked by parents of teenagers killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day when he signed the school-safety law.
Even so, it does raise the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21 and extends a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns. However, he did say that when the new school year begins in August, there will be two school resource officers at Wakulla High and one officer at each of the district's middle and elementary schools.
The legislation spends $400 million on school security and mental health treatment, and makes changes that let law enforcement and courts take guns away from those considered mentally unstable.
"I'm glad, however, the plan is not mandatory", he said.
Florida lawmakers approved the legislation earlier this week with the state House voting 67-50 to approve the bill and the state Senate passing it by a 20-18 vote.
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Districts can meet the requirement through a combination of deputies and guardians, a loophole critics of arming school staff feared lawmakers would exploit to avoid paying the bill for the public safety program they designed.
"We have paid a awful price for this progress".
Also on Friday, an AP analysis of the NRA Foundation's public tax records found that about 500 schools received more than $7.3 million from 2010 through 2016, mostly through competitive grants meant to promote shooting sports. It also revived a contentious national debate on gun control.
In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, one of the nation's worst tragedies, at one of our state's best schools, Florida legislators would have us believe they are proposing "historic legislation" with much-needed funding for Safe Schools and Mental Health budgets.
The Florida bill is a sign that progress may be possible in the unlikeliest of places.
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old former student accused of assaulting the school went before a judge. "Securing our schools and protecting the constitutional rights of Americans are not mutually exclusive".
The bill has been an important political consideration for Scott, who is facing term limits as governor and is widely expected to challenge Florida's Democratic US senator, Bill Nelson, in November's midterm election.