Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) announced a plan today that will affect students and those wishing to purchase guns in the Sunshine State. Scott’s multi-prong plan comes just a little over a week after the deadliest school shooting in history Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL after pressure from activists, surviving students, parents, and organizations. It encompasses gun restrictions as well as prescribed preventative steps for schools.
Mental illness restrictions
Scott’s plan calls for restrictions for those who have “mental issues.” “I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who is a danger to themselves or oters to use a gun,” Scott said, according to NBC. His plan would do this in two ways:
- The creation of the Violent Threat Restraining Order. “This will allow a court to prohibit a violent or mentally ill person from purchasing or possessing a firearm or any other weapon when either a family member, community welfare expert or law enforcement officer files a sworn request, and presents evidence to the court of a threat of violence involving firearms or other weapons,” Scott said during his press conference.
- A strengthening of the Baker Act. Those who are involuntarily committed by the court would “be required to surrender all firearms and not regain their right to purchase or possess a firearm until a court hearing.” Scott also wants a 60-day wait period before the court would restore firearm access.
Age limit changes
Scott also proposes to raise the minimum purchasing age from 18 to 21, with exceptions “for active duty and reserve military and spouses, National Guard members, and law enforcement,” Scott said.
Domestic violence and threat changes
The plan also prohibits anyone who has an “injuction for protection” for stalking, cyberstalking, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or domestic violence.
The plan also seeks to enhance penalties for threatening schools, including online and social media threats.
Scott’s plan also includes a number of measures intended to stop school shootings before they happen as well lessen the loss of life should one take place. Those include:
- Placing one law enforcement officer (per 1,000 students) in every school
- Hiring more mental health professionals for school
- Upgrading physical plan security measures
- The establishment of a “See Something, Say Something” hotline for K-12 students
The plan does have particular flashpoints for folks on both sides of the gun rights issue:
- The plan does not ban specific weapons, such as the semi-automatic rifle that shooter Nikolas Cruz allegeldly used at the Parkland high school.
- The NRA specifically opposes age restrictions for the purchasing of guns.
- It specifically targets the gun rights of the mentally ill.
- The plan does not arm teachers, as President Trump has proposed. Scott has been a recent vocal opponent of such policy.
- It does not create a waiting period for gun purchases.
Scott is calling on state lawmakers to shelve their special projects and to possibly not enact planned tax cuts in order to pay for the $450 million plan.
By J.G. Noll