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FL – GUN POLITICS – Three years after Parkland shootings, political stalemate over gun bills endures in Tallahassee

Three years after the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland spurred a vocal group of students to demand gun law changes, the debate over firearms has been all but muted in the state Capitol. In the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018, shootings that left 17 students and faculty dead and another 17 wounded, lawmakers passed a bill that beefed up school security and imposed gun control measures. They banned bump stocks and the sale of firearms to those under 21 and put a three-day waiting period on all firearm purchases, the first gun reforms passed by the GOP Legislature in at least 20 years. But since then the debate over whether to expand gun rights or put in place more restrictions has largely stalemated, and the greater restrictions hoped for by gun control advocates after the initial Parkland bill haven’t materialized. Democratic gun-control bills haven’t received a hearing the past three years, shut out by Republicans who control the House and the Senate. “We will always have legislators committed to this work … I’m one of them,” said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, who has filed a bill to ban assault rifles every year since the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando in June 2016. “Inevitably there’ll be more pressure for Republicans to finally change their minds and take action or inevitably Democrats will be in the majority and we’ll ban assault weapons. And we’ll protect our community.” Republicans, however, are coming off an election cycle where they won one state Senate seat and seven House seats and aren’t likely to advance gun control bills this year.  [full article]

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