Florida House Votes Down Motion to Ban AR-15s

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Posted: Feb 20, 2018 4:30 PM
Florida House Votes Down Motion to Ban AR-15s

A busload of surviving students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School traveled to the Florida state capital Tuesday to lobby on behalf of gun control legislation. Despite their efforts, the Florida House has voted down a motion take up a ban on the AR-15, tabling the measure. The vote was 36-71.

Seventeen people were killed and over a dozen injured when a former student opened fire on the school last week. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15.

Soon after the carnage, lawmakers renewed their calls for a ban on the rifle. It got support from even Republican governors like John Kasich, who wondered why anyone would need a firearm like it.

At about the same time, President Trump declared his support for legislation to ban bump stocks, a feature which gives a gun owner the ability to fire off rounds more quickly.

"We can do more to protect our children," he said at a Medal of Valor ceremony Tuesday afternoon. "We must do more to protect our children.”

Shortly after those remarks, he signed a memo authorizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to enforce the ban.

A larger group of students is expected to stage a protest Wednesday in Tallahassee, but the demonstrations aren't limited to Florida. Over the weekend, protesters staged a "lie-in" at the White House to demand lawmakers take some action on gun control.

While the legislation to ban AR-15s is stalled in the Florida legislature, Republican lawmakers said other measures are still on the table.

Sen. Bill Galvano, a Republican and the incoming Florida senate president, said the state Senate was preparing a package that would include raising the age to purchase any firearm to 21, creating a waiting period for purchasing any type of firearm, banning bump stocks that can enable semi-automatic guns to spray bullets quickly and creating gun-violence restraining orders.