Senate debates gun, school-safety bill

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Many student survivors of the February 14 massacre that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School flocked to the State House in the days after the shooting to lobby legislators to ban assault weapons and take other measures on gun control.

Both the Florida Senate and House could vote Friday on wide-range bills that include increased school safety funding and programs, changes to the state's gun laws and increased mental health funding.

During a rare Saturday session, senators approved the bill for a final vote on Monday - after almost eight hours of debate over dozens of amendments to the 100-page measure.

The result will be the Senate's conducting a rare Saturday session.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he is watching both gun bills and is preparing a list of immediate school safety measures he wants the Legislature to enact in the next few weeks.

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The full Senate will vote on the proposal Monday.

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Specifically, versions of the bill that are now floating around Florida's Legislature would direct $67 million of state funds to a so-called "school marshal" program that would arm 10 teachers in every school, leading to roughly 37,000 gun-toting educators across the state.

Much of the debate in the week since Republican leaders rolled out the package has centered on a proposed "school marshal" program.

The president's comments came after it was discovered school resource officer, Scot Peterson, sat outside during the shooting and didn't offer assistance.

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Linda Beigel Schulman, mother of 35-year-old geography teacher Scott Beigel, spoke on the need to raise the minimum age to buy a rifle to 21, as well as banning assault-style rifles and putting limits on the size of ammunition magazines.

A ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks - the devices employed by the Las Vegas concert shooter to make his semiautomatic weapons fire more like fully automatic weapons - did pass the committee, however.

The measure is meant to respond to the February 14 Parkland shootings but is firmly opposed by the gun lobby because it raises the age from 18 to 21 to buy any gun and imposes a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases.

The Florida bill includes $18.3million for mobile crisis teams working with the Department of Children and Families and the schools; $500,000 for mental health first aid training: and $69million for mental health assistance to school districts. One educator told the Boston Globe, "The day they ask me to carry a gun in the classroom is the last day I teach". Several speakers spoke in favor of the assault weapons ban, including Parkland resident Amber Hersh.

Starting in January 2016, Cruz was allowed to spend half his day at the alternative school and half at Stoneman Douglas to ease him into the less-structured environment.

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Any passengers whose flights have been cancelled should not come to the airport. "Today remains challenging and there will be disruption".