Parents react to school safety bill signed into law

Bill signed into law 3 weeks after Parkland high school massacre

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three weeks after the Parkland high school massacre, Gov. Rick Scott has signed a school safety bill into law.

The Florida House passed the legislation on Wednesday, sending the measure straight to the governor’s office. When he signed the bill Friday afternoon, the following provisions went into effect immediately:

  • The minimum age to buy a rifle is changed from 18 to 21.
  • There is a three-day waiting period on weapon sales.
  • Properly trained school staff, including some teachers, are allowed to carry handguns at school.

The fourth provision, a bump stock ban, will take effect Oct. 1.

The bill is proving to be controversial as it has evolved over the past few weeks.

Parents that News4Jax spoke with are pleased to see state leaders addressing the issues of school safety and gun control and making change. Some are hesitant about guns in schools, but maintain that something needs to be done.

News4Jax spoke with a mother of four, who said Friday marked a step in the right direction.

"Thank goodness that this is enacted this quickly because something has to be done," Tammy Miller said. "It is just a tragedy that we are hearing about more and more often. School is supposed to be one of the safest places and our children are there every day."

Miller said she supports the part of the bill that allows for certain teachers to be properly trained and armed, because they can react quickly and save lives.

News4Jax also spoke with Shirley Stephenfield-Wynne, a former teacher of 30 years who said enough is enough.

"Violence every day, and it doesn't matter if it is a large school in a large city," Stephenfield-Wynne said. "Keystone Heights just had to close schools because of a threat written on the bathroom wall, and that is terrifying."

Parents are praising the students who faced tragedy and then took action.

Scott told students on Friday that they should be proud. He said they are the ones who helped make this change happen, and they are the ones who made the difference.

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