A weapon is used on the indoor firing range at the National Armory gun store in Pompano Beach, Florida. The Florida Senate passed a school safety bill Monday, which now goes to the Florida House after a shooting at a Parkland high school left 17 dead.
The legislation includes increased funding for gun and school safety and for mental health resources. It also establishes the Marshal program, which would allow school personnel to receive law enforcement training and carry a concealed weapon on campus.
"The opportunity to meet with and listen to survivors ... as well as the families of the victims has had a tremendous impact on each and every senator," Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said in an emailed statement. "We are listening. The Senate hears you, and we are taking the appropriate steps to help ensure that a senseless tragedy like this never happens again."
It was clear that senators were divided on the bill, and not just on party lines. While crafted by Republicans, some GOP senators still opposed it because they don't agree with raising the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 or requiring a waiting period to buy the weapons.
Democrats believe the legislation doesn't go far enough in some ways and too far in others. And while some oppose the bill, others believe it's at least a first step toward gun safety.
Democrats want to ban weapons such as the AR-15 assault-style rifle, which was used in the Parkland attack. Many also oppose arming teachers. The bill also includes provisions to boost school security, establish new mental health programs in schools, and improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies.
Jeff Xavier, a survivor of the Pulse attack, was hoping the legislation would include a ban on assault rifles.
"Every constitutional right that we hold dear has a limitation," said Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer. "These are just military-style killing machines and the right of self-defense and the ability to hunt will go on."
Republicans argued that banning such weapons would violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.