TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On their first full day lobbying Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee to change the state's gun laws, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School quickly learned change does not happen very fast in government, if at all.
With Douglas students in the gallery Tuesday, the Florida House voted down a motion to take up a ban on assault weapons such as the AR-15 used by Nikolas Cruz when he killed 17 people at the school on Valentine's Day.
The final motion vote was 36-71.
Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee asked for a procedural move that would have allowed it to consider the 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.
News 13 reports the students held a candlelight vigil before meetings at the Senate office building. The students were told at the time that only GOP reforms already being considered have a chance at being passed in the final three weeks of the current session.
Those reforms included raising the firearm possession age from 18 to 21 and banning bump stocks.
The students present at the capitol on Tuesday were among a group that arrived a day before a larger group arrives in multiple buses later in the day. The students are busing 400 miles in a push for a sweeping package of gun measures that seem unlikely to happen.