By Dan Sweeney Staff writer, Sun Sentinel
March 4, 2018
All the kids wanted was for the adults to ban assault weapons — which caused such bloody devastation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
And most of their teachers wanted to quash the notion of armed educators in Florida schools.
But the Florida Senate crushed both of those hopes Saturday, rejecting the weapon ban and supporting arming teachers.
Reaction was swift. Stoneman Douglas student Jackie Corin, who organized 100 of her fellow students to go to Tallahassee earlier in the week, tweeted: “The Florida Senate has rejected the ban of AR-15s, the weapon of choice used at my school to kill 17 souls. This breaks my heart, but we will NOT let this ruin our movement. This is for the kids.”
The Republican-led Senate also killed compromise measures, such as a ban within five miles of a school, a moratorium on assault weapons, or even a moratorium just on the AR-15, the type of semi-automatic rifle used in the Stoneman Douglas shooting.
What the bill would do is:
Allow some teachers to be armed. That would be optional, with school district superintendents and sheriffs having to agree to it, and teachers needing to volunteer.
Make bump stocks — firearm accessories that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire at near-automatic rates — illegal to sell or possess.
Make it a second-degree felony to threaten to commit a mass shooting or terrorist attack in a way where others can see the message, such as social media.
Spend tens of millions on school security measures such as bulletproof glass and single point-of-entry systems, plus more than $100 million on mental health programs for students.
Introduce some nominal gun control measures, including banning sales to those younger than 21 and requiring a three-day waiting period and background check for all purchases from licensed dealers.
The bill will likely be passed Monday.
The new activists at Stoneman Douglas will be watching closely. Student David Hogg tweeted after the vote, “Elections are going to be fun!”