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Fla. Gov. signs gun restrictions 3 weeks after attack

  • CORRECTS ID OF WOMAN TO GENA HOYER INSTEAD OF JENNIFER MONTALTO - Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act in the governor's office at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday, March 9, 2018. Scott is flanked by victims' parents Gena Hoyer, left, Ryan Petty, second from left, Andrew Pollack, right, and his son Hunter Pollack, second from right. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) Mark Wallheiser

  • CORRECTS DAY TO FRIDAY INSTEAD OF THURSDAY - Flanked by Florida legislators and family members of victims of the Marjory Stonemason Douglas school shooting, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is applauded before he signs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act in the Governor's office at the Florida Capital in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday March 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) Mark Wallheiser

  • CORRECTS ID OF WOMAN TO GENA HOYER INSTEAD OF JENNIFER MONTALTO - From left, Tony Montalto, Gena Hoyer and Ryan Petty, who each had a child killed during the Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School shooting, comfort each other as they stand next to Florida Gov. Rick Scott before he signs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act in the Governor's office at the Florida Capital in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday March 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) Mark Wallheiser

  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott talks to the media in his office after signing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act at the Florida Capital in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday, March 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) Mark Wallheiser

  • Nikolas Cruz, center on monitor, a former student accused of opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, appears in magistrate court via video conference from jail on Friday, March 9, 2018, for his initial appearance on attempted murder charges that were added by the grand jury, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His defense attorney Gordon Weekes is standing in background. (Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) Carline Jean

  • In this image taken from a video monitor, Nikolas Cruz, center, a former student accused of opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, appears in magistrate court via video conference from jail on Friday, March 9, 2018, for his initial appearance on attempted murder charges that were added by the grand jury, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Broward County Court/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) Carline Jean



Associated Press
Friday, March 09, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a far-reaching school-safety bill Friday that places new restrictions on guns in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting, cementing his state’s break with the National Rifle Association. The NRA immediately fought back with a lawsuit.

The new law capped an extraordinary three weeks of lobbying that followed the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with student survivors and grieving families working to persuade a Republican-run state government that had shunned gun control measures.

Surrounded by family members of the 17 people killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting, the GOP governor said the bill balances “our individual rights with need for public safety.”

“It’s an example to the entire country that government can and has moved fast,” said Scott, whose state has been ruled for 20 years by gun-friendly Republican lawmakers.

Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was killed in the shooting, read a statement from victims’ families: “When it comes to preventing future acts of horrific school violence, this is the beginning of the journey. We have paid a terrible price for this progress.”

The bill fell short of achieving the ban on assault-style weapons sought by survivors. The gunman at the school used such a weapon, an AR-15 rifle.

Nevertheless, the bill raises the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21, extends a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns and bans bump stocks, which allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire. It also creates a so-called guardian program enabling some teachers and other school employees to carry guns.

The NRA insisted that the measure “punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual.” The group promptly filed a lawsuit to block the provision that raises the age to buy guns, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment.

The Parkland gunman “gave repeated warning signs that were ignored by federal and state officials. If we want to prevent future atrocities, we must look for solutions that keep guns out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others, while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.