6 things to know about Florida's proposed gun, school safety legislation

Plan: Gun age up to 21, metal detectors at schools, 1 deputy per 1,000 students

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
Associated Press

The Republican leadership in the state House and Senate lays out their school safety proposal during a press conference at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday, Feb 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

ORLANDO, Fla. - More than a week after 17 students and faculty were gunned down at a South Florida high school Florida Gov. Rick Scott and state lawmakers have revealed plans that both say would have prevented the mass shooting has they been in place.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and fellow lawmakers detailed their plans after Scott's announcement on Friday. Many of their objectives are the same. The Florida Senate filed corresponding bill proposals on firearm safety, SB 7022, and school safety, SB 7026.

Here are the top six takeaways that both parties say they want to accomplish with this $500 million future legislation.

  1. Ban gun sales to anyone under 21 and mentally ill: Scott and lawmakers both proposed increasing the firearm's purchase age from 18 to 21 and adding a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases. Lawmakers also want to prohibit persons committed to a mental institution or adjudicated mentally unsound from owning or buying firearms, or obtaining a concealed carry permit. Current Florida law prohibits purchase, but does not prevent possession.

  2. Ban bump stocks: Florida lawmakers want to make accessories that make rifles more automatic, known as bump stocks, illegal. It does not include large capacity magazine or other firearm accessories. Proposed Senate Bill 7022 would prohibit the importation, transfer, distribution, transport, sale, or gifting of bump fire stock in Florida.

  3. Give law enforcement power to take weapons from mentally ill: People held under the Baker Act or those deemed a threat to the community by family or law enforcement officials will be forced to surrender their weapons. Anyone involuntarily committed for mental health treatment would be required to surrender their firearms for a minimum of 60 days. After those 60 days, a judge will decide if they are eligible to own firearms again.

  4. Increase school security, deputies on every campus: $450 million in safe school funding would go toward upgrading all public school security measures, including bullet-proof glass and metal detectors. One law enforcement officer for every 1,000 students will be at all Florida public schools. Scott said he wants these steps taken by July.

  5. Mental health and threat assessment at school: Scott and lawmakers want to expand mental health services teams across Florida, installing a DCF case worker at every sheriff's office and law enforcement teams that work with DCF.

  6. Deputy training for school faculty: The proposed Senate bill includes the creation of the Florida Sheriff’s Marshal Program, which is similar to the Polk County Sentinel Program, which will provide deputy training to school faculty who volunteer for the program and will act as special deputies.

    On this issue, the governor disagreed, saying that he did not think arming teachers was the answer, and instead he wants more law enforcement officers in schools. Each school will have a threat assessment team to evaluate students who possibly pose a threat of violence.

There are two weeks left in the Florida legislative session and Scott said he will work with lawmakers to make sure legislation gets passed to meet their goals of keeping Florida schools safe.

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