Florida Governor Breaks With NRA on Guns

Rick Scott wants to bar anyone under 21 from buying one; does not want to arm teachers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2018 11:43 AM CST
Florida Governor Breaks With NRA on Guns
Gov. Rick Scott delivers his last State of the State address on the first day of the legislative session on Jan. 9, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla.   (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Just over a week after the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida Gov. Rick Scott unveiled a plan Friday to keep his state's students safer: a $500 million proposal to ban bump stocks, restrict people under age 21 from purchasing guns, and prohibit the "violent or mentally ill" from buying weapons, NBC News reports. "I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who is a danger to themselves or others to use a gun," Scott said, per the New York Times. The age restriction would mark Scott's first big rebuff of NRA policy, per the Washington Post. "I'm an NRA member (and) a supporter of the Second Amendment," Scott said. "I'm also a father and a grandfather and a governor. We all have a difficult task in front of us balancing our individual rights with our obvious need for public safety."

Among the initiatives included in Scott's plan are revamping building security to include metal detectors, better locks, and bulletproof glass; placing a "law enforcement officer in every public school"; and working more on "mental health initiatives." What Scott isn't pushing for: banning the AR-15 rifle, which was the type of weapon used in the shooting, and arming teachers, as President Trump and others have called for (to much criticism) in recent days. "Banning specific weapons … is not going to fix this," Scott said. He also said he'd rather see "well-trained" members of law enforcement brought in to protect schools than hand weapons to educators. "We must take care of our kids," he said, per CNN. On Wednesday, the NRA said it will fight any attempt to raise age limits, saying that move would "[punish] law-abiding citizens for the evil acts of criminals." (More Rick Scott stories.)

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