Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Friday signed into law a measure imposing new restrictions on gun purchases in the state following a deadly shooting at a South Florida high school last month.
The bill, which passed this week with bipartisan support, raises the minimum age for purchasing firearms from 18 to 21 and imposes a three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns.
The measure also allows certain trained school employees to carry concealed handguns on school campuses and creates new mental health programs for schools.
Scott said he was “not persuaded” by the concealed carry program, but noted that counties would have the option not to participate in it.
In signing the bill, Scott defied opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Florida governor has received an “A+” rating from the powerful gun rights group.
“I know the debate on all these issues will continue. And that’s healthy in our democracy,” Scott said. “This is a time for all of us to come together, roll up our sleeves and get it done.”
The NRA blasted the measure Friday after Scott signed it into law, saying it “punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual.”
“Securing our schools and protecting the constitutional rights of Americans are not mutually exclusive. Instead of looking to the root cause of this premeditated violence, the gun control provisions in this law wrongly blame millions of Floridians who safely and responsibly exercise their right to self-defense,” Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.
The legislation came in response to a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month that left 17 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.
The shooting reignited an intense national debate over gun control and mental health, with student survivors putting pressure on lawmakers allied with the NRA to support taking action on gun violence.
President Trump, who touted his support for gun rights on the campaign trail, has indicated that he would support new gun measures. He also backed a plan to arm teachers and do away with gun-free zones on school campuses.
The Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland was allegedly carried out by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Stoneman Douglas High School. Cruz was formally charged this week with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
Cruz’s public defender has said that he will plead guilty if prosecutors promise not to pursue the death penalty for the teen. Michael Satz, the state attorney prosecuting the case, has not said whether he will seek a death sentence for Cruz.