Florida lawmakers reject amendment that would ban assault weapons

An amendment to a gun bill that would have banned weapons like the AR-15 used in the Parkland school shooting on Feb. 14 failed for the second straight day in the Florida Legislature, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

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Tuesday, the Florida House voted mostly along party lines, rejecting a plan to outlaw the sale and possession of about 200 specific types of semiautomatic rifles by an 18-11 vote, the Times reported.

Monday, a Republican-controlled Senate committee voted down a similar amendment by a 7-6 vote, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The legislature has until March 9, when the current session ends, to respond to the recent mass shooting at Parkland, the Democrat reported.

The House Appropriations Committee also voted along party lines to create a school marshal program under which trained teachers will carry guns on campus.

Relatives of victims, including the mother of slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School geography teacher Scott Beigel, pleaded with lawmakers to reject that measure, the Times reported.

"It could easily cause additional chaos and fatalities," Linda Beigel Schulman said.

If an active shooter attacks another school, she said, "with the ongoing chaos, law enforcement could unintentionally shoot at a teacher."

Beigel Schulman said her son became a teacher to teach, "not to be a law enforcement officer.” the Times reported

More than 200 people, dressed in orange T-shirts, filled a Senate committee room Monday before a hearing on gun control measures, the Democrat reported.

After the measure failed, people in the Senate gallery yelled "shame" and "vote them out," WPLG reported.

“They (Republicans) can’t run and hide from the Parkland kids,” said Sen. Kevin Rader, a Democrat from Broward County, where the school shooting took place. The attack by a gunman resulted in 17 deaths, including 14 students.

Since 2016, three mass shootings -- at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and at the Parkland school -- have claimed 71 lives, the Democrat reported.

“The big difference between what happened at Pulse, what happened at Fort Lauderdale, is here with Stoneman Douglas High School we’re in session,” Rader said. “The governor, the speaker of the House and the Senate president cannot ignore 17 lives taken away when we have two weeks to do something.”

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