AR-15 Ban Approved by Florida Senate, but Only for 15 Minutes

Written by on March 3, 2018

In a rare Saturday session, Florida’s state legislature briefly accepted and then rejected a measure banning the sale of AR-15 assault rifles — the type of weapon used in the Feb. 14 shooting at a South Florida high school.

A Saturday voice vote in the state Senate, whose members generally firmly oppose firearm restrictions, passed an amendment approving a two-year moratorium on sales of the weapon, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

While the Senate president ruled that the amendment passed, the body reconsidered the amendment 15 minutes later and overturned it by a margin of 21-17 in a roll call vote, with each “no” vote cast by a Republican. Two Republicans backed the moratorium on the rifle.

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 chamber’s flip-flop was met with frustration among state residents advocating for gun control following the tragedy.

Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky, a leading activist among the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students now pushing for action by state and federal lawmakers, appeared to criticize the decision in a tweet shortly after the vote took place. He did not mention the vote directly in his tweet, however.

“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,” Kasky said.

Democrats in the chamber took action on the calls by national lawmakers in the party to hold Republicans accountable on the issue of gun laws, and insisted on recording the roll call votes to have a record of GOP legislators who opposed the moratorium and other measures.

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