NRA sues Florida over gun-control law

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is suing the State of Florida after Governor Rick Scott, a staunch ally of the firearms lobby, enacted passed a gun control law in the wake of a school shooting that left 17 people dead.

The law raises the legal age for buying rifles in Florida, but also allows the training and arming of school staff. The NRA says violates the constitution.

The NRA filed its lawsuit on Friday just an hour after the bill was signed by the governor. One of its arguments is that the legislation violates the rights of young women as they are unlikely to commit violent crime.

The law does not ban semi-automatic rifles like the one used in the 14 February massacre in Parkland.

But it does introduce a three-day waiting period on all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, a device that enables semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

It raises the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21 in the state – although 18, 19 and 20-year-old police officers and members of the security forces will still be able to buy rifles and shotguns.

It bans bump stocks – devices that raise the firing speed of semi-automatic rifles

It introduces a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases (previously this only applied when people bought handguns).

It makes it easier for police to confiscate weapons and ammunition from people who are deemed to pose a threat of violent behaviour (a measure that has been proposed by five other states in the last month, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence).

It allows school staff to carry guns, with the agreement of their school district authorities and sheriff’s department. This is already allowed in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas and Texas.

President Donald Trump and the NRA has expressed support for arming teachers, but most education and law enforcement officials as well as many parents are strongly opposed to putting more guns in school.

The Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that left 17 people dead has ignited a national debate about whether schools would be safer if teachers carry guns.

The 19-year-old suspected of killing 17 people at the Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation, part of a multimillion-dollar effort by the gun group to support youth shooting clubs.

The National Rifle Association has given more than $7 million in grants to hundreds of U.S. schools in recent years, according to an Associated Press analysis, and few have shown any indication that they’ll follow the lead of businesses that are cutting ties with the group following last month’s massacre at a Florida high school.

Florida’s Broward County school district is believed to be the first to stop accepting NRA money after a gunman killed 17 people at one of its schools Feb. 14. The teen charged in the shooting had been on a school rifle team that received NRA funding.

Denver Public Schools followed Thursday, saying it will turn down several NRA grants that were to be awarded this year. But officials in many other districts say they have no plans to back away.


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