Florida’s state legislature stunned some of their constituents with a rare Saturday session. The state lawmakers briefly accepted and then rejected a measure banning the sale of AR-15 assault rifles. This was the kind of weapon used in the Valentines Day shooting at a South Florida high school.
With a voice vote in the state Senate, the members who almost always oppose firearm restrictions passed an amendment approving a two-year moratorium on selling the AR-15.
Just as the Senate president ruled that the amendment passed, the body reconsidered the amendment 15 minutes later and overturned the measure by a margin of 21-17 in a roll call vote. Each “no” vote was cast by a Republican, with two from the GOP backing the moratorium on the rifle.
The Senate session lasted all day on Saturday and lawmakers considered a number of measures aimed at reducing gun violence. The proposals considered included millions of dollars becoming available for school safety and improving mental health services. The fervor generated in the discussion came in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people killed and a dozen more injured.
There will be a final vote scheduled for Monday.
When the chamber decided to change their vote, it was met with deep frustration among many residents who where advocating for more gun control after the massacre in Parkland.
Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky, a leading voice among the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students now pushing for action by state and federal lawmakers, seemed to criticize the decision in a tweet.
“Florida is not disheartened by the pathetic choices made by our lawmakers. We’re simply excited to kick them out and save our own lives. We have more hope now than ever. We have a very clear understanding of who’s with us and who’s against us,” Kasky said.
Florida is not disheartened by the pathetic choices made by our lawmakers. We’re simply excited to kick them out and save our own lives. We have more hope now than ever. We have a very clear understanding of who’s with us and who’s against us. #NeverAgain #MarchForOurLives
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) March 3, 2018
The Democrats in the chamber maintained a strong stand in responspose to calls by national lawmakers to hold the GOP party accountable on the issue of gun control. They insisted on recording the roll call votes so that they would have a record of Republican lawmakers who opposed the moratorium and other measures.
What do you think about this Florida flip-flop?
Credit: The Hill