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Monday, February 26, 2018

Florida Governor proposes new measures after Parkland shooting

Por MRod

After the Parkland massacre, Rick Scott announced Friday a package of state measures focused primarily on increasing the age of purchase of weapons and prohibit anyone with psychological problems from accessing them. The governor recalled all the signs given by Nikolas Cruz and how he ended up killing 17 people despite all the previous warnings.

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced on Friday a plan to strengthen safety in his state's schools in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which killed 14 students and 3 adults. According to him, the process to implement his plan will be speeded up. "It is time to unite under common sense and erase the partisan lines", he said. Scott proposes changes in state laws to include increasing the age to buy weapons from 18 to 21 years, as well as the prohibition to acquire them to anyone with psychological problems. On the minimum age, he said that there will be some exceptions, such as military service and reserve personnel, as well as members of the National Guard and law enforcement personnel.

The National Rifle Association opposes this age restriction, which already exists for firearms, and which would have prevented Nikolas Cruz from buying the AR-15 that, according to the police, the young man used to massacre 17 people. "I want it to be impossible for a person with mental problems to have a weapon," said the governor. Scott supported the absolute prohibition of bomb stocks or devices that convert semiautomatic weapons into machine guns.

Rick Scott proposes to allocate 450 million dollars to reinforce security in all public schools of the state, through a plan that includes the designation of a police agent for every 1,000 students. He stated that these agents will receive special training for situations of mass shootings. "These officers must be sheriff's deputies or sworn police officers and be present during all hours that students are on campus", he said. In his words, the safety plan should begin in the 2018 school year. The governor promised to strengthen Florida's Baker Act, requiring that people who have been qualified by a court as "a risk to themselves or others," surrender all firearms and lose the right to buy or own a firearm until determined by a court hearing.

Scott said that under the proposed plan, people will not be able to buy a weapon if they are "subject to a court order for harassment, cyberbullying, dating violence, repeated violence, sexual violence or domestic violence. So far, so good. It seems the massacre has left the government unease and without more choice that stepping up and enabling measures. What remains to be seen is if these plans will become reality and if they will be enough to avoid mass shootings.