Less than a week after 17 people were fatally shot at a Florida high school, the state House voted down a motion to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles while a Senate panel endorsed a proposal to put law enforcement officers in all schools.
The assault rifle motion failed by a 36-71 vote.
As the Florida House opened its session Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee asked for a procedural move that would have allowed it to consider a bill to ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines. The bill had been assigned to three committees but was not scheduled for a hearing. The committees won't meet again before the legislative session ends March 9.
McGhee said that means the bill would be dead unless the House voted to remove it from the committees and let it be considered by the full House.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate say they will consider proposals including raising age restrictions for gun purchases and the red-flag bill regarding temporarily taking away someone's guns if they are deemed a threat to others.
The news of the motion failing occurred while about 100 students who survived the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were en route to Tallahassee with the goal of assuring their horrific story is not repeated.
“I’m just absolutely mortified right now. That’s kind of just like a big screw you. They know that multiple kids are coming up to the state capitol just to talk to them. And they’re just not even considering the bill to stop things like this," student Daniel Bishop told MSNBC while aboard a capital-bound bus. "The NeverAgain hashtag has been going around and it’s like they don’t even care that we don’t want this to happen again. Why should anyone else have to live through this? I just don’t understand.”
Shortly after the motion failed, a Florida Senate committee endorsed a proposal to put law enforcement officers in every school in the state.
Only slightly more than half of Florida's more than 4,000 public schools have the resource officers. They are sworn law-enforcement officers and allowed to carry a weapon on a school campus.
The Senate Education Committee voted Tuesday to include the requirement in a sweeping education bill that is now moving through the legislature.
The proposal is expected to also be part of a comprehensive gun bill that Senate Republicans plan to release later this week. GOP leaders have drafted the legislation in response to the shootings at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.