TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House on Wednesday night sent a massive school safety bill to Gov. Rick Scott over the objection of the National Rifle Association and gun opponents.
The legislation has become a full-time effort for two fathers who lost daughters in the Valentine's Day tragedy in Parkland.
For the better part of two days, two fathers who never met before they lost children in Parkland worked the phones and met with reluctant lawmakers opposed to a school safety bill. They were incensed at the opposition.
“They would come and look me in the eye and tell me they aren’t going to vote for the bill because of one little tiny thing in the bill," said Andrew Pollack, whose child, Meadow, 18, died in the Parkland shooting. "It's, it's -- you know, my blood boils inside. I can’t even explain it.”
"We’ve had to relive that today with every lawmaker we’ve spoken to, and it's been exhausting,” said Ryan Petty, whose daughter, Alaina, 14, was killed on Valentine's Day.
The two were applauded when they arrived in the House shortly after the school safety debate began.
"With everything going on, you can cut the tension in the air,” Rep. Kim Daniels (D-Jacksonville) said.
Strong divisions remained over arming teachers.
“Grownups protect our kids. It's what we do,” Rep. Shawn Harrisson (R-Tampa) said.
Conservatives objected to raising the age to buy a firearm to 21.
“We tell potentially, a 21-year-old single mother living alone that she can not purchase a firearm to defend herself in the state of Florida," Rep Jay Fant (R-Jacksonville) said.
Breaking with her caucus, the Democrat who represents Parkland said the legislation was better than nothing.
“We understand there are some things we can’t stomach," Rep. Kristin Jacobs, (D-Broward County) said. "We also understand that moving forward is something we have to do together.”
Scott would not commit to signing the legislation Wednesday, saying, instead, he will read through it when it reaches his desk.