Bid to add semiautomatic rifle ban to Florida gun bill fails

Gun control supporters yell 'shame' after vote

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An amendment to a Florida gun bill that would have banned weapons like the one used in the Parkland school shooting has failed.

Lawmakers in Tallahassee are currently discussing sweeping changes to the state's gun laws.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, used an AR-15 rifle to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. Since then, some Stoneman Douglas students and parents have advocated changing federal and state gun laws, including banning semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15.

Last Wednesday, students traveled to Tallahassee in support of a ban on semiautomatic guns and large capacity magazines, but Florida House members voted down a motion to consider the issue.

In response to the shooting, Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a number of changes to the state's gun laws. Scott said he supports raising the age to buy an AR-15 rifle from 18 to 21. He also proposed strengthening background checks to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people and banning bump stocks, a piece of equipment that enables a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster.

Scott, a Republican, does not support a ban on semiautomatic guns. However, many of Scott's proposed changes are opposed by the National Rifle Association, a longtime political ally.

After the amendment failed, a crowd of people in the gallery of the Florida State Capitol yelled "shame" and "vote them out."

Spectators filled the room as a Florida Senate committee took up the gun bill Monday. More protesters with signs reading "Resist" and "Be the change you wish to see in the world" waited in the hallway outside the room. 

The group included about 60 parents from Stoneman Douglas who traveled to Tallahassee for the debate.

The bills that were discussed by the Senate committee addressed expanding school security, not listing the addresses of victims in public records and giving authorities the power to temporarily remove weapons from mentally ill people. With a vote of 9-4, the bills advanced.

Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the NRA, spoke against the amendment to ban semi-automatic rifles.

"This would stop short of banning practically every gun known to man," Hammer said.

Read the bills:

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."