Florida Senate Approves, Then Quickly Rejects Assault Rifle Ban

The Florida Senate spent hours debating a bill to increase school safety and restrict gun purchases in a rare Saturday session that often turned into a debate on gun control and arming teachers in the aftermath of last month's Parkland school shootings. Two Republican senators, René García and Anitere Flores, crossed party lines on the vote. After the vote, Senate President Joe Negron, a Republican, asked senators to take their seats.

State Sen. Linda Stewart, a Democrat who introduced the amendment to ban assault weapons, said on the Senate floor that ammunition from assault weapons can blow up inside the victim's body and that there is no reason for anyone to have them.

Republicans have also rebuffed other Democratic amendments to completely ban assault weapons; allow for a registry of semiautomatic weapons; and to remove a program allowing trained teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.

Combine funding for school resource officers and the school marshal program. "I don't believe in arming the teachers", Scott said Thursday.

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The annual 60 day session ends on Friday, and the Legislature wants this bill to pass the neccessary changes needed to address the shooting that left 17 people dead.

"The substance of our bill is still the same", Galvano said. It would still be up to the school districts to decide whether to participate and sponsor teachers to undergo training. If someone is deemed a "significant risk or threat", a court can also issue a search warrant for firearms. "The reason it is not being included is not because of constitutional law".

During debate on the assault weapons ban amendment, Sen.

The amendment would have placed a two-year moratorium on the sale of AR-15 assault-style rifles, the weapon used in the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz.

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The surprise action came on an unrecorded voice vote in which senators shouted yea or nay.

After the upper chamber debated for almost an hour, Senate President Joe Negron (R) ruled that the amendment temporarily banning the sale of AR-15s had passed in an unrecorded voice vote, the Tampa Bay Times reported. It was swiftly reconsidered and overturned by a more formal roll call vote of 21-17.

Lee became the most vocal critic of the plan, trying and failing to remove both the gun control elements and the plan to arm school personnel calling them "a bumper sticker for November".

"I think this journey is just beginning", Galvano added. "And I, for one, wont be going home trying to pretend that I did something trying to solve the problem".

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  • Israel Montgomery