Student safety versus Second Amendment rights has been at the center of a heated debate in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, and it seems Governor Rick Scott is fueling the flames with a proposed plan to reduce the frequency of such tragedies.
More than a week after the fatal shooting that left 17 people dead, the Republican governor of Florida said at a news conference on Friday that the motivation for his plan was to keep students safe.
“We must take care of our kids,” Scott said, according to CNN. “Keeping guns away from dangerous people and people with mental issues is what we need to do.”
Yet, the way Scott intends to go about this, called the “Major Action Plan,” is bound to spark controversy among many conservatives, as it involves the creation of a “Violent Threat Restraining Order.”
The order is similar to the “Gun Violence Restraining Order” in California that is aimed at securing court orders so firearms may be confiscated if a family member complains about the gun owner.
Scott’s proposed restraining order also aims to prohibit unstable individuals from firearm possession or access “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.”
“There would be speedy due process for the accused and any fraudulent or false statements would face criminal penalties,” the plan states.
However, no matter how well-intentioned, it continues to raise questions as to how it would work in cases similar to Cruz’s. The family Cruz had been staying with repeatedly called police on him but refused to file charges after the authorities arrived, according to Breitbart.
At the time, one family member chalked up Cruz’s erratic behavior to him merely “suffering significantly from the loss of his mother.”
Scott is also pushing to ban bump stocks and implement “tougher background checks,” especially when it concerns those who either present as — or have a history of being — mentally ill.
Under the plan, people who wouldn’t be able to get guns include those who are “subject to an injunction for protection against stalking, cyberstalking, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or domestic violence.”
In line with the pleas of many Democrats and some Republicans, the plan also aims to develop a more advanced mental health initiative and active shooter training. Moreover, it bumps the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 — though none of the plan’s proposals include banning AR-15s, the same gun used in numerous shootings throughout the years.
A member of the National Rifle Association, Scott said he won’t be calling for a ban on all firearms, instead explaining he wants to “really focus on the problem.”
“I know there are some who are advocating a mass takeaway of Second Amendment rights for all Americans. That is not the answer,” Scott said. “Banning specific weapons and punishing law abiding citizens is not going to fix this.”
“What we have to do is we have to really focus on the problem,” he added.
“We’ve got to take all weapons away from people with mental illness, people who are threatening themselves or threatening others.”
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