Florida legislators passed several laws to limit access to firearms and improve school safety in the state after the Parkland massacre last February. But now, almost a year later, one Republican state lawmaker is trying to dismantle some of that progress.
Rep. Mike Hill, a member of Florida’s House of Representatives representing the 1st District, filed legislation earlier this week that seeks to gut parts of the state’s wide-ranging school safety bill, which was signed into law last March after receiving sweeping bipartisan support.
The legislation raised the minimum age for buying a rifle from 18 to 21, enacted a “red flag law” that gave law enforcement a way to seize guns from dangerous or mentally ill people, and created a three-day waiting period for some gun sales — all of which Hill now wants to roll back.
“What was passed last year did absolutely nothing to stop what it intended to, and that was mass shootings at our schools,” Hill said, according to ABC-3.
Hill, who was elected to the Florida House in November, introduced the bill with the blessing of Florida Gun Rights, a hard-line Second Amendment group.
“Any infringement is unacceptable to us," D.J. Parten, the group’s director of legislative affairs, told the Sun Sentinel. “We are committed to doing everything we can to repeal the gun control they passed.”
Hill’s bill, however, likely won’t get far, given the bipartisan support the school safety legislation received. Supporters have also touted its success so far, especially the “red flag law.” More than 450 people were ordered to surrender their guns in the first five months after the measure was enacted, in March.
Hill said that state Sen. Dennis Baxley is planning to file a companion bill. Baxley is a descendant of a Confederate soldier, previously fought a proposed moratorium on the sale of AR-15s, and sponsored the state’s controversial 2005 “Stand Your Ground” legislation, which allows civilians to use deadly force if they perceive their lives to be at risk.
Cover image: Memorial vigil for the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a teen gunman using a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle. (Jose More / VWPics via AP Images)