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Rick Scott, lawmakers call for beefed up school security, gun provisions

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday offered a $500 million proposal to address school safety, gun laws and mental-health issues after the mass shooting this month that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.

The proposal, in part, calls for at least one school resource officer to be stationed in every public school in the state. It also calls for requiring that people buying guns be at least 21 years old, a requirement already in place for handguns but not long guns.

It also includes proposed changes designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who are violent or mentally ill and pose threats.

The package does not include a ban on semi-automatic weapons, commonly known as “assault” rifles, and would not lead to arming teachers.

Meantime, House and Senate leaders also Friday outlined proposals that could lead to some armed teachers in public schools and requiring that gun purchasers be at least 21 years old. (Senate’s summary here.)

House Speaker Richard Corcoran said at a news conference that lawmakers are expected to spend $400 million to $500 million on the issues, though details were still being worked out.

Lawmakers want to allow teachers who go through extensive training and work under the direction of law-enforcement agencies to be able to carry concealed weapons at schools.

Also, they would increase the age to purchase long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, to 21, which is already the age requirement for purchasing handguns.

Lawmakers will not seek to ban certain semiautomatic weapons, commonly known as assault rifles, such as the one used in the Broward County murders.

The proposals come as legislators still have not gone into the conference process to work out a state budget for 2018-19.

The 2018 Legislative Session is scheduled to end March 9—about two weeks away—but a constitutionally mandated 72 hour “cooling off” period must occur between a spending plan being finalized and a vote of both chambers.

The budget then must be approved by Scott, subject to any line item vetoes.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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