Florida passes Bill to restrict guns, minimum age to buy firearms raised to 21

Florida passes Bill to restrict guns, minimum age to buy firearms raised to 21

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MIAMI (TIP): The US state of Florida, 
scene of America’s latest school shooting, has passed Bill that raises 
the minimum age to buy firearms to 21 while funding a program that 
allows some teachers and school employees to be armed.

The “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High 
School Public Safety Act,” which takes its name from February 14 
massacre in which 17 persons, including 14 students were killed, passed 
the legislature’s lower house a day after clearing the senate.

It will now be sent to Governor Rick 
Scott to sign. The Republican has not indicated whether he would veto 
the law, but he has previously expressed opposition to US President Donald Trump’s call to arm teachers.

America’s long moribund gun control 
debate was revived by survivors of the Parkland shooting, who a day 
after their school was attacked launched the “Never Again” movement 
demanding legislative action.

The Bill raises the minimum age to 
purchase all firearms from 18 to 21, a move opposed by the powerful 
National Rifle Association lobby group, bans modification devices that 
make a semi-automatic weapon fully automatic, and increases mental 
health funding.

It also includes a voluntary “guardian 
program” named after Coach Aaron Feis who was slain in the Parkland 
attack, which is intended to “aid in the prevention or abatement of 
active assailant incidents on school premises” by allowing some school 
employees to be armed.

The program is mainly aimed at staff 
such as coaches and school personnel, with teachers eligible if they 
have military or law enforcement experience. Bringing more guns into 
school has been a controversial idea, but lawmakers defended the Bill.

Meanwhile, Democrat legislators said the
 guardian program was a “poison pill” in a law otherwise taking 
necessary steps towards gun control. African-American representatives 
also expressed fears that arming black school employees could leave them
 vulnerable to being mistaken for attackers by police arriving on the 
scene of a mass shooting.

However, the Bill does not ban the sale 
of the AR-15 assault rifle-the weapon used by Nikolas Cruz-one of 
activists’ key demands.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act

Imposes a three-day waiting period for 
the purchase of all firearms, not just handguns, or until a background 
check is completed, whichever is longer

Raises the minimum legal age to purchase
 a rifle or shotgun to 21 from 18. Federal law already prohibits anyone 
under 21 from buying a handgun

Outlaws bump stocks, which enable a 
semi-automatic weapon to be fired as an automatic weapon. Such devices 
were used in a mass shooting in Las Vegas last year

Allows local sheriff’s departments to 
establish a “guardian program” in which school personnel can be 
permitted to voluntarily carry a gun on the job

Allows police to temporarily seize 
firearms from someone who has been taken into custody for an involuntary
 mental examination under Florida’s so-called Baker Act statute


Prohibits anyone from owning or 
possessing a firearm who has been judged mentally incompetent or has 
been committed to a mental institution, until a court rules otherwise.


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