A compromise in the form of gun legislation was recently passed by the Florida Senate after the Parkland shooting reignited the fiery gun debate between Democrats and Republicans.
On Monday, the Florida Senate passed a bill that implements new gun restrictions but also allows some teachers to carry guns in school.
It took three hours for both parties to come up with a compromise which honestly is faster than one would expect during this time of tribal politics. It is a positive sign for things to come, however, and may lead the way to more bipartisan efforts in the future.
“Do I think this bill goes far enough? No! No, I don’t!” said Democratic Sen. Lauren Book. “My community was rocked. My school children were murdered in their classrooms. I cannot live with a choice to put party politics above an opportunity to get something done that inches us closer to the place I believe we should be as a state. This is the first step in saying never again.”
Republicans also agree that the bill isn’t exactly what they had hoped for.
“This bill will make a difference now. When it becomes law, things will start changing,” said Republican Sen. Bill Galvano. “We listened and we’re trying. We’re trying hard, we don’t have all the answers but we are giving it our best and we will keep giving it our best.”
Some of the points of contention between the political parties were if teachers should be able to carry guns and if the minimum age to buy rifles should be changed to 21 versus the current 18.
The Democrats were opposed to any teachers carrying a gun while on duty, but they compromised with pro-gun lawmakers by agreeing to allow certain teachers to carry a gun after attending law enforcement training classes.
“Any teacher who does nothing but work in a classroom would not be eligible for the program, but teachers who perform other duties, such as serving as a coach, and other school employees could still participate,” writes Fox News. “Other exceptions would be made for teachers who are current or former law enforcement officers, members of the military or those who teach in a Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps program.”
In exchange, Republicans agreed to the minimum age change and a waiting period for gun sales.
New mental health programs will also be created, along with task forces to analyze mistakes made in the past by law enforcement during mass shootings. An anonymous tip line will now be available for students and others to report threats to schools.
The bill barely passed in the Senate and now goes to the House, where a similar bill is waiting for consideration.