State lawmaker from Longwood hears constituents' gun, school safety concerns

Rep. Scott Plakon opens office to listen to residents

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

LONGWOOD, Fla. - A Florida lawmaker from the Orlando area opened his office doors Saturday to constituents to hear their thoughts on proposed gun and school security legislation. 

Rep. Scott Plakon, the Republican who represents the majority of Seminole County, said it has been an emotional week at the Capitol in Tallahassee. 

The lawmaker met with survivors of the Parkland school shooting. The students rallied at the Capitol to demand change to the state's gun laws and more school security. 

[READ: Governor, lawmakers unveil plans to improve school safety, mental health, gun laws]

"Now our challenge is we need to translate what we're seeing and observing from other people, what's good public policy going forward so this will never happen again," Plakon said. 

Plakon opened the doors of his Longwood office Saturday morning to listen to his constituents. 

This comes a day after Gov. Rick Scott and state lawmakers announced their proposals for new gun and school safety legislation. 

Both proposals include increasing the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, banning the sale of bump stocks, increasing mental health funding and increasing school security.

The governor wants more school resource officers, while Plakon said lawmakers propose creating what they're calling a "marshal program."

[READ: How to contact Central Florida elected officials]

"Law enforcement-trained deputies can also double as personnel in the school while they're out there," Plakon said.

Plakon said he thinks lawmakers can find the funding for more school resource officers by using money already earmarked for other local projects in the budget that aren't as critical. 

The state lawmaker also said that, as of now, he couldn't support a ban on assault weapons, saying he believes his support will depend on the wording of the bill. 

"I know a lot of people would like to do a lot of things, but the very starting point is, 'Is it constitutional?'" Plakon said. 

But some of his colleagues and constituents are calling for a ban. 

"I think you're hitting it on the one side, but we're just ignoring the real issues to me. We've got to do something about assault rifles," a Seminole County parent said during the discussion. 

[Guns in Florida: How the state does, and doesn't, regulate the weapons]

Despite the differing opinions, everyone came to the meeting with one goal. 

"We're not going to all agree, but what it boils down to is we need to protect our kids," parent Jennifer Wagner said. 

Lawmakers said they hope to pass a bill that will protect students before the session ends in two weeks. 

"We have to. After what happened in Parkland, we cannot leave without addressing these problems," Plakon said.

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