A few weeks ago, Florida lawmakers — in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre — rejected a motion to consider an assault-rifle ban while declaring porn to be a health risk. Following immense pressure (along with three weeks of debate), however, the Republican-led state legislature has buckled down and defied the NRA by passing some new gun regulations.
The Washington Post is calling the legislation “a rare act of Republican compromise” due to a bipartisan vote (67 to 50) in favor of the measures. That is, the minimum age for buying guns in Florida would be 21, and most long-gun purchases will require a three-day waiting period. In addition, the bill devotes money to school security measures, which include training and arming some teachers. That last detail won’t please Governor Rick Scott, since he opposes arming teachers, but there’s been no talk of a veto — yet — and there’s (of course) no assault-rifle ban in the legislation:
The bill does not address a central demand of the Stoneman Douglas students to ban the sale of assault weapons, such as the semiautomatic rifle the alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz used at the high school.
The state Senate passed the measure Monday, with three Democrats joining 17 Republicans to vote yes. Democrats in both houses expressed concern with the bill because it lacked an assault-weapons ban and armed school personnel, a measure that was especially concerning to black lawmakers who cited studies that show racial discrimination in school discipline.
Regardless of the notable omission, the passage of any form of gun-control legislation in a bipartisan fashion is surprising to behold, and perhaps if this can happen in Florida, it can happen in other states. Earlier this week, Oregon became the first state to pass new gun laws following Nikolas Cruz’s massacre, and other states may soon follow suit.