Gov. Rick Scott proposes $450 million action plan to keep students safe

Scott vows to strengthen Baker Act, require guns owners to be 21 or older

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Peter Burke - Managing Editor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott presented an action plan Friday to help keep Florida students and all Floridians safe in the wake of last week's Parkland school shooting that left 17 people dead.

The governor's office said among the "major changes" will be school safety improvements and keeping guns away from people who are mentally ill.

Among the announcements made during Friday's news conference, Scott said his action plan provides $450 million to keep students safe.

"Today, I'm calling for a mandatory law enforcement officer in every public school," the governor said. "These law enforcement officers must be either sworn sheriff's deputies or police officers and be present during all hours students are on campus."

Scott said the size of each public school campus should be a factor in deciding how many officers or deputies are assigned to that school.

"I am proposing at least one law enforcement officer for every 1,000 students," he said.

Scott said this must be implemented by the start of the 2018 school year. 

He said he is also requiring mandatory active shooter training in every public school in the state. He said all training and code red drills must be held during the first week of the semester in all schools.  

Scott also vowed to strengthen Florida's Baker Act by requiring people who have been involuntarily committed by a court because they are "a risk to themselves or others" to "surrender all firearms and not regain the right to purchase or possess a firearm until a court hearing."

The governor is proposing a 60-day period before individuals may ask a court to restore their right to possess firearms.

Scott said he also wants to require that all people in possession or attempting to purchase a gun be 21 or older.

He said there will be some exceptions, including active duty and reserve military personnel and their spouses, National Guard members and law enforcement personnel.  

Scott said under his proposed plan, people will not be able to purchase a gun if they are "subject to an injunction for stalking, cyberstalking, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence or domestic violence." 

He said there will also be "enhanced criminal penalties for threats to schools, like social media threats of shootings or bombings."

The plan calls for the ban of bump stock sales or purchases. 

Scott met with law enforcement, school administrators, teachers and mental health experts after the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, confessed to killing 14 students and three teachers at the Parkland school. He is being held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

During the news conference, Scott said there were many warning signs about Cruz, but he was still able to legally purchase an AR-15 rifle. 

"He had 39 visits from police, his mother called him in, DCF investigated, he was kicked out of school, he was known to students as a danger to shoot people and he was reported to the FBI last month as a possible school shooter. And yet, he was never put on the list to be denied the ability to buy a gun," Scott said. 

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday that campus Deputy Scot Peterson failed to take action during the shooting, standing outside the building for four minutes while Cruz was inside. Peterson has resigned.

Israel also said deputies will now carry rifles at Broward County Public Schools.

As for Scott, his action plan now goes to the Legislature, which has less than two weeks to turn it into law. 

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