Feb 23, 2018, 12:33 PM ET

Florida governor calls for gun sale age to be raised to 21 after Parkland shooting

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Gov. Rick Scott announced today that he is going to push to raise the firearm purchase age in Florida from 18 to 21 years old in the wake of the deadly school shooting last week.

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"Change is coming, and it will come fast," Scott said today.

Scott, a Republican with an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, announced the age increase as part of a series of steps he wants the state to take on gun laws, school safety and mental health.

He started his news conference today by reading the names of the 17 students and school staff who were killed at the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

"Unfortunately, none of the plans I’m announcing today will bring any of them back, but it’s important to remember them. The 17 lives that were cut short and all the hopes and dreams that were ruined have changed our state forever. Florida will never be the same," Scott said.

PHOTO: Florida Governor Rick Scott lays out his school safety proposal during a press conference at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Feb 23, 2018.Mark Wallheiser/AP
Florida Governor Rick Scott lays out his school safety proposal during a press conference at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Feb 23, 2018.

He called for the institution of what he termed a violent threat restraining order -- similar versions of which are in place in some other states. The order would allow a court to stop a mentally ill or violent person from buying a gun after a family member, community welfare expert or law enforcement officer files a request to instate the order.

"I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who has mental issues to use a gun. I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who is a danger to themselves or others to use a gun," Scott said.

PHOTO: Assistant Principle Denise Reed (R) hugs a school employee as teachers and staff are allowed to return to the school for the first time since the mass shooting on campus on Feb. 23, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Assistant Principle Denise Reed (R) hugs a school employee as teachers and staff are allowed to return to the school for the first time since the mass shooting on campus on Feb. 23, 2018 in Parkland, Florida.

Scott also called for a strengthening of the restrictions that should stop mentally ill individuals from buying guns.

The age hike that would stop someone from buying a gun before they are 21 years old would have exceptions "for active duty and reserve military and spouses, National Guard members, and law enforcement," Scott said.

PHOTO: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff, teachers and students return to school greeted by police and well wishers in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018.
SLIDESHOW: Heartbreaking photos from the Parkland school shooting

Scott's list of proposals also included an outright ban of bump stocks, which were not believed to have been used in the Parkland shooting but gained infamy following the deadly shooting at a Las Vegas concert in October.

He also detailed his plans to increase security precautions and training at schools. He said that he will push to have more law enforcement officers at schools, suggesting that there be at least one law enforcement officer for every 1,000 students. Scott also called for a mandatory implementation of active shooter "code red" drills at the beginning of each semester at public schools.

Scott said that he and Florida lawmakers would be discussing the plans in Tallahassee, the state capital, during the next two weeks while the state government is still in its legislative session.

"I will not accept the old, tired political notion that we don’t have enough time to get anything done. Government does not have to be slow or lethargic. And when it comes to protecting our schools and our kids, we need to be swift and decisive," Scott said.

He noted that the ideas he mentioned amount to "half a billion dollars for school safety and mental health initiatives," and he said that "if providing this funding means we won’t be able to cut taxes this year -- so be it."

The announcement comes the same morning that some staff members returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, nine days after the shooting.

Teachers were seen hugging as they arrived back at the school in the wake of the Valentine's Day massacre.

PHOTO: People arrive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as teachers and staff are allowed to return to the school for the first time since the mass shooting on campus, Feb. 23, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
People arrive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as teachers and staff are allowed to return to the school for the first time since the mass shooting on campus, Feb. 23, 2018 in Parkland, Florida.

PHOTO: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School assistant principal Denise Reed hugs a school employee as she returns to the school, Feb. 23, 2018. Charles Trainor Jr/Miami Herald via AP
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School assistant principal Denise Reed hugs a school employee as she returns to the school, Feb. 23, 2018.

Staff members had the option to go back to the school today and all staff is expected to return on Monday and Tuesday for planning days ahead of classes, Broward County Public Schools said.

"A variety of support services" are available, the district said.

The school district, calling this an "emotional and difficult recovery process," is also holding a voluntary campus orientation for students and parents Sunday afternoon.

Classes for students will resume on Wednesday with a modified, shorter schedule for the week, the district said.

News - Florida governor calls for gun sale age to be raised to 21 after Parkland shooting

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  • Paul Burns

    Should be 25 years old and anyone under 25 needs to turn in the gun and their license is revoked until 25. Why 25? Because you are probably out of high school, out of a Bachelors degree out of a masters degree, out of trade schools and into the work force accepting adulthood. 21 you are not. Plus any person diagnosed or known to be mentally challenged including Vets with PTSD of any age may not be licensed or buy a weapon of any type. These sales are ALL sales including shows or person to person. Just like selling your car you need to transfer a registration if you sell. We set an age to drive. We set an age to drink alcohol so this is a no brainer.

  • george

    "UCLA is a community that supports active citizenship and applauds students' expression of their beliefs,"
    BS, they support it as long as it fits with their socialist liberal agenda. Time to stop government funding for these institutions.

  • Lawrence Wilson

    When I was a kid it was legal to bring you rifles to school so long as they were not removed from your car, but at the same time it was illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase a gun. The way it worked was that if mom or dad thought you were responsible enough they could buy a gun for you. But they were still the legal owner & responsible for it. Much has changed since then.
    A few years ago I remember people saying all the soldiers should be armed on base. As a Vet. that scared the H out of me. I remembered all the fights on base between our guys. being a medic I had to patch many of them up. I simply couldn't imagine what would happen if all these guys were armed all the time. Baad idea!
    Now some want to arm teachers who are willing to carry. Well I remember some not to well balanced teachers & administrators when I was in school, & from time to time we see news reports of these same teachers & administrators getting into trouble or making horrible decisions about our kids. So exactly who will be responsible for deciding which of these volunteers are to be accepted & which are to be denied. Then for those who are denied, will we have to worry if they will become the next to erupt into violence??

  • Holmes

    Do like the Insurance companies do and make it 26. Most kids that reach that age will live a long life...

  • Bill Toone

    Probably, like Trump, he is saying one thing now, and doing something quite the opposite later. Otherwise known as lying.

  • Bill Toone

    At least a reasonable start. From a Republican.

  • Renate

    This really shocks me. Someone willing to meet half way. As a liberal this is what compromise means. I hope he is serious and can pull it off.

  • aarfc

    pander, pander, pander.."Look at me! I'm running for Senator!" pander, pander pander..."I've done nothing for almost 8 years, but now I care!" pander, pander, pander.

  • ExtraStealth

    Rick Scott is responsible for the largest Medicare scam in US history. He should be in prison, not a governor's chair. No one knows how to be a better white collar criminal than Rick Scott. He is totally up the backside of the NRA. He could not have made governor without them and the idiot Republicans who buy that level of garbage.

  • mikevietvet68/69

    rick scott takes nra money just like the cuban rubio,now after the kids were murdered he wants to do something,its amazing the extent of the lack of whats right in politics today...ryan,McConnell,graham,paul and the rest of the grandstanders have not come forward with any kind of solution due to the fact a lot of their voters are gun toters.

  • Frank Goudy

    Most states you can not purchase alcohol until 21. So be it for guns.

    Will it help? Once in a great while. But that is pretty good if you are one of the 'once in awhiles' shot.

  • George Lucas

    I would raise the age limit to 23 at the federal level for both guns and ammo. At this point most people are out of college if they went, and barring access to people in school will likely help prevent school shootings (I haven’t heard of anyone going back to their old school, it seems most school shooters are current students). A friend of mine put it this way - if you’re mental enough to shoot up a school, then there is no way you are smart enough to get a gun on the black market. Unless you steal one (plus stealing enough ammo) it will basically be impossible to get a gun. Obviously it would take a couple of years because people under 23 already have guns, but it’s a good starting point. Also, only shotguns and sidearms should be available to the public. You can go to a range to shoot a rifle.

  • BobIsyour

    How many mass shootings would raising the age have stopped? One, that school I can never remember the name of that in Parkland. All others were not bought or owned by the killer or the killer was over 21.

  • mike

    All these years as governor, he does nothing but allow more weapons. Now that he is running for the senate, he has an epiphany and pretends to care. So sad such political filth uses dead kids to further his political career when convenient.

  • Sunliner Vet

    Don't be fooled for a nanosecond! Scott wants to be Florida's next US senator and this is just disingenuous lip service that he hopes will make him look good. The NRA owns the Republican controlled Florida Legislature outright and no changes will be made so long as that control continues. More self-serving politics from Scott as usual.

  • Truthful Opinion

    I guess Scott wants to get on the NRA's bad side. Scott wants his NRA A+ rating to drop to and F.

  • Sonora Nomad

    Scott doesn't give a rip...but he does see a hit to his political aspirations so now he's just blowing smoke.

  • Lee Thompson

    Rick Scott - shill for the NRA and the GOP cult.

  • Optimist-2618173

    "Scott, a Republican with an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association,"

    Is his proposal going to cost him just that plus, or a full letter grade?

  • Time Immemorial

    Ban hard alcohol. Citizens can only buy beer and wine in no more than 6 serving increments.
    That will change the individual's consumption free will.

  • Joycey

    I think it would be a good thing if the school students got together and worked on a project that will be done in the names of the students that died. It could be an annual event that is done in their memory that seeks to bring the people of Parkland School closer together for healing. This event could be done for the younger students in Parkland school district that have not entered the high school yet. And it could be a new tradition. Something positive to bring people together to have fun and to work and laugh together. Something that would bless the names of the children that needlessly died.

  • Time Immemorial

    If society deems today's youth are not mature enough at 18 years old to own a firearm, they should also be saying it across the board.
    Raise the age to drive.
    Raise the age to consent to joining the Armed Services.
    Raise the age to vote.
    Raise the age to get a marriage license.

    There was a time in this country when society deemed an 18 year old was mature enough for everything. That's obviously changed.

  • Emu Cat

    Should have been that way all along across the country.

  • Lee Thompson

    Rick Scott, NRA agent . . . ban AR15s and similar weapons and bump stocks.

  • AG99

    Ah well, there's goes his A+ rating with the NRA.

  • ruelph

    Unlike President Trump (clueless), Governor Rick Scott of Florida today has shown true grit and leadership with his three-pronged proposal for addressing gun violence in Florida.

  • Mrs Blunt

    I have no problem with the age being raised. And i am conservative.

  • Richard

    The Florida Governor want the legal age for gun purchase raised to 21. That will never happen because the NRA doesn't want that to happen. Of corse Trump will not go against the NRA because he has no balls.

  • Concerned Citzen

    What Governor Scott is doing changes nothing. The NRA is going to veto any bill that places any restrictions on guns or gun sales. What concerns me is the fact a corporation has the power and authority to dictate what bills will or won't become law. Isn't that suppose to be the job of the citizens of this country. However, politicians are so beholden to corporations like the NRA, they only vote on bills the way that corporation wants them to do. If you want to get corporations out, you have to do one thing. You have to chance the way donations are given to political campaigns.

    You can start this process at the local level, where you, the people, have the most control. Pass local laws that state only a person who can vote for a candidate can donate to that candidate. Include an up to amount that one person can donate, like $5,000. You want the average wage earner (middle class) to have the most influence, not those who make $10M a year. If there are two Republicans and one Democrat running for the same office, you can only donate to one.

    The reason I say the above is the fact of why should a resident of North Carolina be able to donate to a person running for political office in Colorado. If only a person who can vote for a candidate can donate to that candidate, requires that candidate to be beholden to the citizens of his/her district/state, not corporations. This also does away with the RNC and DNC. Neither of these organizations can donate to a political campaign. Allow the residents of a district or state make the decision on who is to be elected, not people from other districts or states.

  • Top shelf

    This is photo-op baloney. Scott has been an NRA tool for years, and there's no reason think he's ever going to change.

  • drathvedar

    Banning AR15s doesn't solve everything, but it's a step in the right direction.

  • muomega0

    The cheapest solution: ban assault - less damage, less number of rounds and speed, less victims the elephant in the room.
    Red refuses to use common sense. Bannon said it best: Cannot shift. Impossible..we lose votes. Agendas for corporations over your safety.

  • kritikosman

    The NRA didn't see that coming.

  • John Michael Davis

    But you can still buy AR-15's, which nobody needs, once you turn 21! At least the other stuff is a start.

  • David

    No big fan of Rick Scott, always thought there was a conflict of interest in his drug screening proposals but this is a first for his party. For some maybe not enough but baby steps are better than none. In my opinion as one of those "liberals" I think he's got a good plan.

  • Dam Yehudi Nakam

    The NRA is a terrorist un-american treasonous organization. They should flee.

  • Turned around

    They're not tearing down the school?