On Saturday, the Florida senate took the extraordinary action of passing an AR-15 ban, following upon the deadly shooting in Parkland that left 17 people dead. Suspected murderer Nikolas Cruz allegedly used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to carry out the atrocity.
The victory for gun control supporters was short-lived, however, as the Florida senate subsequently rescinded the ban… 15 minutes later. According to the Tampa Bay Times, a two-year moratorium on AR-15 sales was passed by voice vote.
However, the passage was overturned under reconsideration of the bill fifteen minutes, when every Republican voted against it, leading to a roll call tally of 21-17.
The AR-15 ban was not the only school safety and gun control measure up for consideration in the rare Saturday legislative session. As The Hill reported:
In the all-day Senate session, lawmakers considered multiple measures aimed at reducing gun violence, including millions of dollars for school safety and improving mental health services, after the tragic shooting in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed. A final vote on legislation is slated for Monday.
The Tampa Bay Times recapped the arguments made by Florida senators.
Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez called assault rifles “weapons of war designed to kill efficiently and effectively … and then they’re modified for civilian use by a $17 billion industry.”
The term “assault rifles” is highly disputed because the term is often used to describe semi-automatic weapons that are designed similarly to military rifles, but function differently than automatic weapons. Also, FBI crime statistics show that individuals are twenty-four times more likely to be murder by a criminal with a handgun than with all rifles combined, including so-called semi-automatic “assault rifles” like the AR-15.
One of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas teen activists expressed his disappointment about the measure’s failure.
“Florida is not disheartened by the pathetic choices made by our lawmakers. We’re simply excited to kick them out and save our own lives. We have more hope now than ever. We have a very clear understanding of who’s with us and who’s against us,” Cameron Kasky said.
The Republican also defeated Democratic proposals for a permanent assault weapons ban, mandatory registration of guns, and new child-proof trigger locks on guns, as reported by the Times.
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