As Florida lawmakers draw closer to a vote Wednesday on a gun-safety package aimed at reducing school shootings, families of the 17 victims killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are urging legislators to approve it.
The Senate passed a version of the bill on Monday and now the House is taking it up for what could be the final vote.
If passed, the bill would raise the legal age for buying rifles from 18 to 21, impose a three-day waiting period on all firearms sales and allow qualified school personnel to be armed on campus.
Democrats in the House and Senate made several attempts to block the provision allowing local sheriffs to deputize armed "guardians," but they were unsuccessful.
The March 6 letter from the affected families to the House of Representatives declared, "This Time Must Be Different!":
You must act to prevent mass murder from ever occurring again at any school. This issue cannot wait.
The moment to pass this bill is now.
We are the families of the victims killed in the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. We strongly urge you to support the passage of SB 7026 ‐ Public Safety.
We must be the last families to suffer the loss of a loved one due to a mass shooting at a school. We demand action by the entire Florida Legislature to keep our schools safe.
Vote "YES" on SB 7026 ‐ Public Safety
This Time Must Be Different!
Lori Alhadeff, Max Schachter, Ryan Petty, Linda Beigel Schulman, Fred Guttenberg, Damian and Denise Loughran, Manuel and Patricia Oliver, Mitch Dworet, Jennifer and Tony Montalto, Kong Feng Wang and Peter Wang, Andrew Pollack, Tom and Gina Hoyer, Vincent and Anne Ramsay, Miguel Duque, Debbi Hixon, April Schentrup, and Melissa Feis
If the bill passes the House without any additional amendments, which at this stage would require a two-thirds vote, it would become law within 15 days. However, it is possible the governor could veto the bill. He also opposes the idea of arming school workers.