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Democrats and Schools Express Concerns Over Proposed Parkland Response

February 23rd, 2018 by Jake Stofan

The Governor and the Legislature have announced comprehensive proposals in response to the Parkland School shooting to increase school safety and prevent the mentally ill from acquiring guns.

Both call for raising the age to purchase guns to 21-years-old and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fortify schools and identify threats before another mass shooting can take place, but Democrats say it doesn’t go far enough.

5,000 people who came to the Capitol this week were demanding a ban on assault style weapons.

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith says the Governor and Legislature’s proposed fixes are missing the point.


“There is support for an assault weapons ban, that’s what the students want, that’s what the teachers want,” said Smith.

Governor Scott and Legislative leaders say banning assault weapons would unfairly penalize law abiding citizens and would violate the second amendment.


“Even in difficult times we have to follow the constitution,” said Senate President Joe Negron.

Democrats also take issue with allowing teachers to carry guns, even if they’re also sworn law enforcement officers.


“More guns in our schools is not the solution. Teachers need to focus on teaching,” said Smith.

Schools also have concerns that the proposals may take away too much local control.

The main concern is Governor Scott wants to use school construction and repair funding for school hardening before it’s spent on anything else.


“There needs to be some consideration to what other obligations exist,” said Ruth Melton with the Florida School Boards Association.

Senator Bill Montford also represents the state’s School Super Intendants.

He say’s there’s time for the schools’ concerns to be addressed… When it comes to banning assault rifles, he’s not so confident.


“It’s a weapon of war, so that gives me great pause and a great deal of concern,” said Montford.

Putting more guns in schools and neglecting calls for a ban on assault rifles is likely going to be a road block to Democrats’ support.

The Legislature’s proposal also calls for a three-day waiting period before purchasing a firearm, it’s another idea with Democratic support that could be in jeopardy is a compromise is not reached.

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