PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media as he visits Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school killed 17 people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
‘You made your voices heard,’ Gov. Rick Scott told survivors of the Parkland school shooting.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill introducing sweeping changes to the state’s gun laws on Friday, in the first legislation enacted since a gunman took the lives of 17 people at a high school last month.
The bill tightens gun control, raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and banning bump stocks. It institutes a three-day waiting period for long guns. But the bill also allows some teachers with special training to be armed — although that program is optional and school districts may opt out.
Surrounded by families of the victims, Scott said, “To the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, you made your voices heard. You didn’t let up and you fought until there was change.”
After the bill signing, United Airlines captain Tony Montalto spoke on behalf of the victims’ families. His daughter, Gina Rose, died during the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School.
“When it comes to preventing future acts of horrific school violence, this is beginning of the journey,” the statement said. “We have paid a terrible price for this progress. We call on more states, to follow Florida’s lead, and create meaningful legislation to make all schools safer.”
The bills’ gun control measures disappointed the NRA, which criticized them for punishing “law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual.
“The deranged murderer in Parkland, Florida gave repeated warning signs that were ignored by federal and state officials,” the NRA said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the teacher’s union had pressed Scott to reject the provision allowing certain teachers — those with law enforcement or military training, or who teach JROTC — to be armed.
“We urge you to honor your instincts and act to keep additional firearms from our schools unless they are in the hands of trained law enforcement personnel,” the Florida Education Association said in a letter
But Scott said rejecting that provision would have torpedoed funding for the hiring of additional officers to protect schools.