Florida Gov. Rick Scott broke with the National Rifle Association (NRA), which in the past has given him an A-rating, and signed a major gun safety bill into law on Friday.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, created in the aftermath of the mass school shooting in Parkland, FL that left 17 dead, raises the age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21 and creates three-day waiting period for most firearm purchases. The legislation also includes a ban on bump stocks — the gun accessory used in the Las Vegas mass shooting — and creates a program to arm and train school personnel.
The governor said he signed the sweeping gun safety bill because "this is a time for all of us to come together, roll up our sleeves and get it done." Scott's decision marks a shift for the state of Florida, which has been used for years as a testing ground for legislation that expands the rights of gun owners.
The bipartisan bill is a compromise, but has opponents on both sides of the aisle. On Thursday, the Florida Education Association asked Scott to veto the measure, arguing that "the provision that would arm school employees will do more harm than good." Though President Trump and several other lawmakers have proposed arming teachers, the program created by the Florida legislation would not be open to those who "exclusively perform classroom duties."
Meanwhile, earlier this week NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer called the legislation "a display of bullying and coercion." She argued that the legislation violates the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, and urged supporters to tell Scott to veto the bill.
However, organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety praised Scott's decision, calling it an historic move for the state.
“Since the Parkland shooting, survivors and the families of those killed and injured – along with concerned parents and students across Florida – have done everything and more that democracy asks of us. They showed up to demand change," Shannon Watts, founder of Everytown's Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said in a statement. "And, because of that, something incredible happened: Politicians in Florida actually carried out many of their constituents’ demands and ignored the objections of NRA lobbyists. That’s how our government should work, and this legislation is just the latest proof point that the NRA’s political power is quickly eroding.”
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