Florida Governor signs gun-safety bill into law

Mar 11, 2018, 10:50 IST | Agencies

Law tightens gun control in several ways, but also allows teachers to be armed

Rick Scott (centre) is joined by colleagues and parents of school shooting victims as he signs the bill
Rick Scott (centre) is joined by colleagues and parents of school shooting victims as he signs the bill

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill backed by relatives of Parkland school shooting victims that restricts access to firearms and paves the way for some school staff to be armed.

Until Friday, it was not clear if Scott would sign the measure that cleared the Florida legislature on Wednesday after three weeks of debate, during which emotions ran high.

The law raises the minimum age to purchase all firearms from 18 to 21 — a move opposed by the powerful National Rifle Association lobby group — bans modification devices that make a semi-automatic weapon fully automatic and increases mental health funding. It also includes a voluntary "guardian programme" named after coach Aaron Feis, who was slain in the Parkland attack.

The measure is intended to "aid in the prevention or abatement of active assailant incidents on school premises" by allowing some school employees to be armed. The programme is mainly aimed at staff such as coaches and school personnel, with teachers eligible if they have military or law enforcement experience.

The bill does not ban selling or owning semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 assault rifle Nikolas Cruz used to massacre 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland on February 14.

NRA sues Florida
The US National Rifles Association (NRA) has sued Florida after Governor Rick Scott signed a gun control legislation. The NRA suit, filed in the Northern District of Florida, focuses on the part of the law that raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 from 18.

Florida approves limit on child marriage
Lawmakers in Florida have approved a bill banning child marriage under the age of 17. Child marriage is legal across the US. While 18 is typically the minimum age, every state has legal loopholes allowing children to wed at a younger age. Under the new measure, children aged 17 can marry with parental consent.

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