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Thousands of people support students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a rally for gun control at the Florida capitol (2/21/18).The Florida legislature is poised to pass some of the most sweeping gun control and mental health reforms in more than 20 years. The moves come as lawmakers face pressure from students affected by the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.On Valentine's Day, a 19-year-old in Parkland opened fire on his former classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 14 students, three adults, and injured 14 others. There were warning signs, yet, all, including a tip to the FBI, were missed.That day, school safety measures in place, like school resource officers, restricted access and fencing--all failed.In the wake of the shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have mobilized, calling on the legislature to take greater action to prevent school and mass shootings. Lawmakers, it seems, are finally listening.https://youtu.be/6PRPEfu7WPg

Florida Senate Tees Up Gun Safety Legislation For Monday Vote

Sen. Bill Galvano's twitter

The Florida Senate held a rare Saturday session, discussing legislation aimed at making schools safer, following the February 14th mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 14 students and three faculty members dead.

The sweeping proposal, as currently drawn, would raise the age to 21 for the purchase of rifles and other long guns, create a three-day waiting period on purchases of rifles and address school-hardening and mental health issues.

Additionally, it would create what is being called a ‘school marshal’ program that would allow specially trained teachers and other school workers, who are deputized by local law enforcement authorities, to carry guns to school. 

The legislation is drawing criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, with gun-control advocates saying the bill does not do enough and gun-rights supporters saying the measure would penalize law-abiding gun owners.

Senator Bill Galvano, who sponsored the measure, called it a good compromise.

“We have to start somewhere,” he said. “We have to take more seriously than ever before the issue of security in our schools, the safety in our schools. This bill really is unprecedented.”

Democrats proposed several amendments to the bill Saturday, including an outright ban on AR-15 rifles like the one used in the school shooting, as well as a two-year moratorium on sales.

Both amendments failed.

Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon said the high-powered rifle is the one common thread in many recent mass shootings.

“What you can say about all of them is that they had an AR-15,” he said. “So, we can do a lot of things, but this is kind of the one thing that is consistent.”

The final version of the Senate bill is expected to be debated and voted on Monday.

If passed by the Senate, the House would then debate the legislation during the final week of the 2018 legislative session.

Any bill that comes from the legislature would ultimately have to be approved by Governor Rick Scott, who has said that he opposes the “school marshal” portion of the bill.