The Florida State Senate made an important step to limit teenagers’ access to firearms

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The “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” (SB 7026) would also give law enforcement more power to seize weapons and ammunition from those deemed mentally unfit or otherwise a threa. The measure in its entirety still must pass the Florida House. In a voluntary program, implemented only if the sheriff’s department and school district agree, school staff members who could be armed must complete 144 hours of training and meet other criteria.

Florida-school-shooting-survivors
Florida school shooting survivors

The House was expected to take up the measure Tuesday morning. The Florida legislature ends its session on Friday. Last month gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and teachers at Stoneman Douglas. Survivors of the shooting and parents of victims have lobbied lawmakers to pass stricter gun control measures. The goal is to keep guns away from those who pose a risk to themselves and others and improve access to mental health resources for at risk youth. “Do I think this bill goes far enough? No! No, I don’t!” said Democratic Sen. Lauren Book. She also would have liked a ban on assault-style rifles. In addition to the gun restrictions and arming some school personnel, the bill would create new mental health programs for schools, improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies, create a task force to look at mistakes made during mass shootings nationally and then make recommendations on how to continue to improve law. It will also establish an anonymous tip line where students and others can report threats to schools.

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