Florida Lawmakers' Decisions on Guns, Porn Draw Outrage

State reps decline to consider ban on assault rifles, declare pornography a health risk
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2018 7:30 AM CST
Sheryl Acquarola, a 16 year-old junior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is overcome with emotion in the gallery of the Florida state House after representatives voted not to hear the bill banning...   (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

(Newser) – Lawmakers in Florida are waking up to headlines like these: "Florida House refuses to debate guns, but declares porn dangerous" from the Washington Post. "Florida State House Declares Porn Is Health Risk, Assault Weapons Totally Fine Though" in Gizmodo. "Florida declares porn a health risk but blocks ban on assault weapons" in the Daily Dot, and on and on. It's all because of action, or non-action, in the state's House of Representatives on Tuesday, less than a week after the mass shooting at a Florida high school. Lawmakers rejected a motion to consider a ban on assault rifles by a vote of 71-36, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The decision to do so came with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School watching from the gallery.

"It seemed almost heartless how they immediately pushed the button to say no," Sheryl Acquaroli, a 16-year-old junior at the school, tells CNN. The measure hadn't been scheduled to come up Tuesday, but a Democratic lawmaker asked for a procedural change to consider the ban. The no vote means it will remain under consideration in three committees. Meanwhile, the lawmakers easily approved by voice vote a measure declaring that viewing pornography is a public health risk. Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith was among those angry over the Republican-proposed measure. "He was saying porn as a health risk was more important to address here in the Florida Legislature than the epidemic of gun violence,” Smith told the AP, referring to GOP lawmaker and resolution sponsor Ross Spano. (Students in Florida staged an impromptu 10-mile march.)

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