While more guns in schools has always been advocated by the NRA, the gun lobby staunchly opposed the Florida legislation, saying it "punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual".
Less than a month after the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that gave rise to the powerful student movement, Florida lawmakers Wednesday approved the first gun-control measures to pass in the state in more than 20 years.
Announcing the bill, Gov. Scott said: 'Today should serve as an example to the entire country that government can and must move fast'. The NRA said the age limit is unfair to law abiding 18-to-20-year-olds.
Flanked by family members of students who were killed during a mass shooting just over three weeks ago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a $400 million school safety bill in response to the tragedy that killed 17 people at a high school.
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The NRA's complaint argues that the bill is particularly offensive to women under the age of 21, who are "much less likely to engage in violent crime than older members of the general population who are unaffected by the ban". The gun group says that one of the bill's provisions - one that raises the age to buy firearms to 21 - "eviscerates" the gun rights of young adults.
Signing the bill, the Republican governor said the bill balances "our individual rights with need for public safety".
Lawyers for the NRA want a federal judge to block the new age restriction from taking effect. "We call on more states to follow Florida's lead and create meaningful legislation to make all schools safer".
The legislation will raise the age to buy rifles to 21 from 18 and also require a three-day waiting period for long guns.
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"We have paid a bad price for this progress", Montalto said in remarks read on behalf of the families.
Given Florida's sorry history and Republican control of the legislature, it is not surprising-albeit still disappointing-that lawmakers were unwilling to meet some of the bolder demands of the Parkland students, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The program is voluntary, and qualified staff members who want to carry a gun must take 144 hours of training.
Broward County teachers union President Anna Fusco said teachers supported the bill but not the provision that allows them to carry guns. It also seeks to improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies.
Previous versions of the bill included classroom teachers in the pool of employees who could take the training and carry guns, but that language had been removed by the time the final bill arrived on Scott's desk.
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Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonGingrich says arming teachers only long-term solution to school shootings Florida students turn to activism in wake of shooting CNN invites Trump to town hall with parents, students of Florida high school MORE (Fla.) this year.