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Democrats and Republican criticize gun reform bill

Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 22:25:36-05

Some say the The Marjory Stoneman Public Safety Act, signed into law Friday, doesn't go far enough to curb gun violence.

Others say it goes too far and infringes on the Second Amendment rights of Floridians.

"Bottom line is the right to bear arms doesn't mean you could buy a bazooka," said Democratic candidate for Governor Philip Levine.

Levine told Lee County Democrats at a gathering in Cape Coral that the bill should have included a ban on assault weapons.

The legislation raises the legal age to buy any kind of hand gun from 18 to 21. 

"Ultimately I couldn't take away the civil rights of 18,19 and 20 year olds, you got about 600,000 Floridians who didn't do anything wrong," said Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Lee County).

Caldwell was among 50 House Republicans who voted against the bill because it's too harsh on responsible gun owners.

Caldwell says he supports a section of the bill that would train and arm teachers who want to carry guns in school.  Levine says putting more guns in schools isn't the answer.

"God forbid you're a teacher, and you have a handgun, and a crazy person comes in with an AR-15, what kind of match are you for an AR-15 military assault rifle with your little 38 revolver," said Levine.

Caldwell says the real issue is law enforcement missed signs the Parkland shooting suspect was unstable before he committed the crime.

"You had the authorities visit the house, something like two or three dozen times, and nothing was done about it.  That's really the story of this case."

Caldwell says the legislature may subpoena law enforcement records before and after the shooting, to determine if there was any negligence in their response to the incident.