Parkland families feel misled about Florida gun bills

Final draft could be voted on by weekend

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

PARKLAND, Fla. - Parkland families left Tallahassee Wednesday feeling misled and disappointed by the House and Senate's gun bills.

Dozens of families gathered at a vigil Tuesday night, crying and comforting each other after both the House and the Senate refused to add a ban on assault-style weapons to their bills.

The House and Senate were back in session Wednesday as they worked to get both bills to match.

The bills are similar, with committees agreeing on a three-day waiting period for all weapon purchases and raising the minimum age requirement to purchase a gun to 21. However, there are some loopholes.

Both bills also call for money to be set aside to harden school security. The funds would go to things like bulletproof windows, steel doors, metal detectors and high-tech locks.

The most controversial aspect of both gun bills is the Florida Sheriff’s Marshal Plan, which is an option to arm teachers.

Most Parkland families who spoke with Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg were against arming teachers.

The option would allow the sheriffs of each county to provide training to teachers who want to be armed.

The bill was amended to allow districts to opt in if they wish. 

"Those teachers are only there for an active shooter -- for nothing else. They are not an extension of law enforcement, and it's completely, completely voluntary by the school board and by the teachers," State Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami-Dade, said. 

Some lawmakers agree with families that the answer isn't to arm teachers.

"Say I'm a teacher. I'm a black male, something happens, I pull out a gun, I'm trying to control the situation -- and based on past history in this country, police rush in -- they may automatically view me as a threat," State Rep. Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale, said.   

Behind the scenes, there is fear the Marshal Plan may tank the chance of a new gun law and there is talk of separating it as a separate bill.

"I don't think the bill goes far enough on gun control. It goes too far on the arming teacher thing, and so, we have to figure out what we can pass," State Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Parkland, said.     

A final gun bill is expected to be voted on by the weekend. 

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