This week’s Roundup looks at the complex gun issue, including the influence the NRA has among Florida politicians.
In a matter of days, students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County mobilized against gun violence and pushed for action from Tallahassee to Washington D.C.
They are coming up against the millions spent by the NRA on friendly Florida politicians.
But the gun issue, low on the agenda two weeks ago, now could looms large this election year.
The students had the floor and the nation’s attention Wednesday night at a town hall meeting on CNN and President Donald Trump has held listening sessions.
Trump on Thursday endorsed the idea of arming classroom teachers -- the same idea floated by both Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron.
“I am open to the idea of having properly credentialed, properly trained teachers, retired military, retired law enforcement members that have the appropriate training and background tests done,” Negron said.
Florida lawmakers are now talking about raising the minimum age to 21 and creating a waiting period for the purchase of guns like the semi-automatic AR-15 -- the weapon used in the Douglas High School shooting. Those restrictions are already in place for the purchase of handguns. And they’re discussing ideas for keeping guns away from those who have shown they may be a danger to themselves or others.
The Legislature is also considering a funding boost for mental health services and earlier screenings for mental health problems. The proposals include increased cooperation between law enforcers, school leaders and mental health providers.
These proposals come after dozens of Douglas students went to Tallahassee this week making their case for gun reform at the state Capitol.
Threats of violence at schools are widespread since the shooting at Douglas High School last week. Schools have been put on lockdown around the country as these threats have popped up on social media and elsewhere.
Our public radio partner WGCU in Ft. Myers has created a detailed map showing the threats against Florida schools since the Parkland shooting, which can be seen here.
Guests that joined us to discuss the topic included Alan Gomez of USA Today, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting Executive Director Trevor Aaronson and Politico Florida Senior Editor Sergio Bustos.