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The Latest: Florida lawmakers consider gun proposals

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the aftermath of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

The Florida Senate Rules Committee has voted 9-4 for a bill that would raise the age to purchase rifles from 18 to 21 and create a three-day waiting period to buy the weapons. Those rules are already in place for handguns. The bill also would make it easier to block gun sales or confiscate weapons from people who show violent tendencies or signs of mental illness.

The bill approved Monday also would let Florida counties authorize teachers to carry concealed weapons in school if they undergo law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff’s office.

But the committee refused to add an overall assault-style weapon ban in the bill, voting that amendment down 6-7 after more than two hours of testimony from dozens of gun safety advocates. Those advocates pleaded with lawmakers to ban weapons like the AR-15 used to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.

After the vote, many of the nearly 300 protesters in the room began chanting, “Shame! Shame!” and “Vote them out!”
The bill still needs approval by the Senate Appropriations Committee before going to the full chamber. A similar House bill will be considered in committee Tuesday.
4:45 p.m.

The Florida House is expected to subpoena records from embattled Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and several agencies that interacted with suspect Nikolas Cruz.

A House committee on Monday recommended that the full House initiate a formal investigation into how government agencies dealt with Cruz and how law-enforcement responded to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The full House is expected to vote to issue the subpoenas as early as Wednesday.

The targets of subpoena will be Broward County government, the Broward County School Board, the Coral Springs Police Department, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department.
4:00 p.m.

Democrats tried and failed to pass amendments to the Florida Senate’s school safety bill, including a provision to allow teachers to carry guns in schools if they receive training and are deputized by a sheriff’s office.

The Senate Rules committee met Monday met to consider raising the age for gun purchases to 21 and to impose a three-day waiting period for all gun sales.

Democratic Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez said without a complete ban, gun owners could drive 45 minutes north to Georgia and buy bump stocks, or order them over the internet. NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer argued against the bump stock ban.

The committee also wsa taking up an amendment to ban assault-style rifles, which prompted dozens of gun safety activists to sign up and speak. They booed Hammer as she opposed the ban and argued that it would virtually outlaw every gun.

3:30 p.m.

Lawyers for Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz are seeking to disqualify a judge from presiding over the case.
The attorneys say Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer has made rulings and comments that indicate favoritism for prosecutors. They say in court papers that Cruz can’t get a fair trial and want Scherer to step aside for a new judge.

Cruz’s lawyers’ concerns revolve around a debate last week on whether to keep a defense confidential motion secret. Scherer has made no decision on whether to disqualify herself.

Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
2 p.m.

A National Parks Services spokesman says a gun violence march in Washington set for March 24 needs a new site.
National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst tells WTOP-FM that March for Our Lives submitted a permit to hold the protest at the National Mall on March 24, but that day has already been reserved.

March for Our Lives is a nationwide demonstration sparked by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people earlier this month.

Litterst says a filming permit was requested for some of the same areas march organizers requested. He says his agency is working with the group to find another space. He says West Potomac Park is an option and that Pennsylvania Avenue, which is under the city’s jurisdiction, is being considered.

12:40 p.m.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who’s a Democratic candidate for governor, led a rally of more than 1,000 in heavy rain on the Capitol steps in Florida.

He called for a ban on assault rifles and criticized the National Rifle Association for advocating to arm teachers.
Twenty buses from around the state brought protesters to the Capitol. They wore orange T-shirts that said #GunReformNow. One protester held a sign with an image from the movie “The Sixth Sense” with the words “I SEE DEAD PEOPLE … THANKS TO THE GOP AND NRA.” Other signs said, “Go Away NRA” and “Hey Lawmakers! Take the Pledge. No NRA Money.”

12 p.m.

The attorney for former Broward County Sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson says accusations are untrue that he acted unprofessionally and cowardly during a school shooting that left 17 people dead.

Speaking for Scot Peterson, lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo said Monday that the one-time school resource officer of the year didn’t go inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because it sounded like the shooting was happening outside the building.

DiRuzzo said in a news release Monday that Peterson is confident he followed procedures and will be exonerated. Peterson resigned last week after Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel accused him of improperly failing to confront the shooter.

Some politicians say Israel needs to go because his office ignored warnings about Nikolas Cruz reported in more than a dozen tipster calls.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran also alleges the sheriff did not properly train Peterson.

11:50 a.m.

About 1,000 protesters wearing orange T-shirts with the hashtag #gunreformnow are holding a rally on the steps of the Florida Capitol.

The Monday morning demonstration was led by former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who’s a Democratic candidate for Florida governor.

The protesters planned to attend senate committee meetings, during which bills to address gun laws and school safety will be discussed.

This is the second wave of protests in Tallahassee. Last week, thousands of people rallied at the Capitol.

The gun control demonstrations were sparked by the shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14.

11:20 a.m.

Before he was gunned down in a mass shooting at a Florida high school, 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver was excited about Dwyane Wade’s return to the Miami Heat.

His parents revealed Sunday on Univision talk show Al Punto that Joaquin Oliver was buried Feb. 17 in his Dwyane Wade basketball jersey.

Wade, who had played in Miami before leaving for Chicago and then Cleveland, returned to the Heat about a week before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 14 students and three adults. He responded to the news of Oliver being buried in a Wade jersey by tweeting, “You’re about to make me cry this afternoon.”

10:40 a.m.

A tearful student who was wounded in the shooting rampage at a Florida high school thanked the doctors and first responders who helped her and said she’s making a full recovery.

Speaking at a hospital news conference Monday, 17-year-old Maddy Wilford said “it’s times like these when I know that we need to stick together.”

Wilford has undergone three surgeries since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. She appeared at the news conference with her parents and with doctors and first responders who helped her on the day of the shooting.

The accused gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is facing 17 counts of murder in the shootings.

3 a.m.

Students are easing their way back to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School nearly two weeks after one of their former classmates killed 17 people with an assault weapon.

Several thousand students and parents lined up Sunday to enter the campus, walking solemnly but resolutely through gates that had been locked to all but law enforcement and school officials since the Valentine’s Day shooting.

They were there to collect backpacks and other belongings left behind as they fled the massacre. The freshman building where the shooting happened is now cordoned off and covered with banners from other schools showing solidarity.
The 3,200-student school reopens Wednesday.

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