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This week I called Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to thank him for signing the new gun safety bill. I never thought I would thank Gov. Scott for anything and I’ll still contribute and volunteer to reelect Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in this year’s U.S. Senate race. But it’s important to thank elected officials who do the right thing, even if we won’t vote for them.
And signing this bill was the right thing. It’s not a perfect bill. It doesn’t ban military-style weapons or high-capacity magazines, the tools of choice for mass killers, and it includes a provision to arm school officials rather than hiring more school resource officers. But it raises the minimum gun-buying age to 21, increases the waiting period to buy a gun, increases funding for mental health treatment, and lets a judge order police to confiscate someone’s guns and ammunition on evidence that the person is a danger to himself or others.
That last provision is important because – for all the public outrage that the FBI and local police did not react to warnings about the Parkland high school shooter – they had no legal tools to stop him. This law provides a much-needed option, not only to prevent mass shootings but also to disarm abusive spouses, suicide risks, and others who are found to be dangerous.
The bill was passed by a Republican-controlled Florida House and Florida Senate, and signed by a Republican governor, over the howling objections of the NRA, who have already filed suit to block the law. So change can happen.
Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.