Florida Senate has passed new gun control measures, two weeks after a mass shooting in the state shook America’s conscience.
Nicolas Cruz, 19, who was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland for disciplinary reasons, killed 17 people after returning to the campus with an assault rifle on February 14.
It triggered fresh calls for gun control, a national boycott campaign, and mass street protests.
Senate Bill 7026, named after the tragedy-hit school, represents a comprehensive approach to addressing the issues of firearm and school safety, and community mental health resources.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act passed the Upper House narrowly by a 20-18 vote, after an amendment removed a provision to arm classroom teachers.
The legislation now requires approval from the House of Representatives and governor to become law.
The Act makes significant changes to keep firearms out of the hands of those suffering from mental illness.
It also provides new provisions to ensure full and complete background checks when a firearm is purchased.
The bill addresses two of the most frequent requests Senators heard from the families of victims — to raise the age for purchasing a firearm to 21, and ban devices that turn a legal firearm into an illegal weapon.
The bill establishes the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission to investigate system failures in the Parkland school shooting and prior mass violence incidents, and develop recommendations for system improvements.
The legislation appropriates $400 million to implement its provisions.