As citizens, civic organizations, corporations and even financial institutions step up the pressure on USA lawmakers for common-sense gun regulation, the notorious National Rifle Association (NRA) has doubled down on their message of fear by suing Florida after the state initiated new gun laws in the wake of a recent deadly high school shooting massacre that killed 17.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping package on Friday of school safety and gun laws, including legislation that would raise the age requirement to buy a rifle to 21 and give law enforcement the authority to seize weapons from potentially risky people.
Gun control advocates remain determined to maintain the pressure on lawmakers.
The NRA wants the court to void SB 7062 on the grounds that it violates the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment and the right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Florida Education Association on Thursday sent a letter to Scott saying the only people who should have guns in schools need to be trained law enforcement. Democrats have said they will vote for the proposal, but have slammed GOP leaders for not doing more.
The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote this week on a bill to give money for more security at schools, as the nation's lawmakers continue to search for legislative solutions to gun violence that can pass the Legislative Branch. The NRA argues the ban imposes an "impermissible burden" on the gun rights of women, who according to the lawsuit "pose a relatively slight risk of perpetrating a school shooting such as the one that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, or, for that matter, a violent crime of any kind".
Still, other states appeared ready to follow Florida's lead on at least some new gun-safety measures. "I'm going to fight for the Second Amendment, but I'm going to fight to make sure that our kids are safe in this state", Scott said.
The bill signed Friday falls short of what Scott and the shooting's survivors wanted.
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As for schools, it would create a so-called guardian program enabling school staffers with law enforcement training and school district approval to carry concealed handguns on campus. "No, I don't!" said Democratic Sen. The bill left only non-teacher staff eligible to participate, such as administrators, guidance counselors, librarians and coaches.
Florida is now among just three states to ban the sale of all firearms to those under 21. The law, signed Friday by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, was largely created to show Florida voters that lawmakers would not allow the killings to go unanswered.
"I think responsible people would be great to have guns in the school", Bay County resident Paul Edwards said.
United States President Donald Trump, after initially suggesting raising the minimum age for buying a "long gun" or rifle from 18 to 21, has apparently baulked.
In placing its sights on that policy, the Trump administration could be signaling that the time for such thinking has ended. The DeVos interview has already sent a message that schools can be less mindful of stark disciplinary disparities.
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