Florida lawmakers pass gun-control bill
Miami: Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that would impose new restrictions on firearm sales and allow some teachers and staff to carry guns in school, in defiance of the National Rifle Association (NRA) which opposed the legislations firearm limitations, the media reported.
The bipartisan vote of 67 to 50 on Wednesday night came Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed 17 students and staff members at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, reports The New York Times.
The arjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which passed the State Senate on Monday and will now head to Governor Rick Scott, would raise the minimum age to purchase any firearm to 21 from 18; impose a three-day waiting period on gun purchases; fund school police officers and mental health counsellors; and allow local school districts and sheriffs to arm certain school personnel.
It would also ban so-called bump stocks, which make guns fire faster, and give law enforcement more power to commit people deemed a threat.
While the gun bill was the first to pass in the state in years, it fell short of the demands of many of the students and educators who have in recent weeks led a national call for stronger firearm restrictions.
Prior to passing of the bill, an emotional debate in the House, which lasted eight hours, culminated with powerful remarks from Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat who graduated from Stoneman Douglas High and told of attending the funerals of the dead.
He broke down when he shared that one of the victims, Jaime Guttenberg, was the daughter of his son's preschool writing teacher.
Vote for the bill, Moskowitz implored his colleagues.
However, Governor Scott has not said if he will sign the bill into law, reports The New York Times.
His own proposal after the Parkland shooting did not envision arming school personnel or requiring a waiting period for all gun purchases. Scott has 15 days to sign it.
Earlier on Wednesday, a grand jury in Broward County charged Cruz with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
The indictment of Cruz, who has confessed to the killings, was essentially a formality, and the primary legal debate now centres on whether prosecutors should seek the death penalty.
Cruz's lawyers have offered a plea bargain - consecutive life sentences without parole - in a bid to avoid a trial and the threat of execution.