Florida Senate Raises Minimum Purchasing Age for Guns

Florida’s Senate where Republicans have the majority approved on Monday reforms to the state’s gun law which will raise the minimum purchase age and add a three-day waiting period. The legislation which was approved by the lawmakers after an amendment removed a provision to arm most teachers.

According to Reuters, the exclusion was adopted by voice vote as part of a package of legislation the Senate passed a short time later, 20-18, to raise the minimum legal age for buying all guns in Florida to 21 and impose a three-day waiting period for any gun purchase.

The bill’s next stop now is Florida’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

At the moment, the minimum age for handguns nationally is already 21, but a person can still be as young as 18 in order to buy a rifle in Florida, with no waiting period.

The new laws are a result of the school shooting, when a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with a semi-automatic AR-15-style assault rifle and opened fire, killing 17 students and staff members. Authorities reported that the killer was 18 years old when he legally purchased the assault rifle.

The new legislation means that the National Rifle Association (NRA) gun rights lobbyist, which has resisted proposals to raise age limits or impose new waiting limits are losing their influence.

Reuters also reported that a House committee approved similar legislation last week, including a provision allowing sheriffs to create voluntary programs for deputizing school personnel as armed “marshals,” subject to school district approval and special training.

Both the NRA and President Donald Trump support the plan for arming teachers.

However, the bill dictates that classroom teachers would be excluded from carrying guns to work unless they were part of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program or members of the U.S. military or former police officers.

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