It has been just 21 days since 17 people were killed when authorities said a 19-year-old gunman attacked Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people.
In the days since that Feb. 14 mass shooting, Floridians have gone from shock to grief to mourning to outrage. Grieving family members and student survivors dove into the issue of gun restrictions and were met head-on by political realities, state politics and National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer.
Exhaustion would be understandable at this point. But in Florida and particularly in the Tampa Bay area, there are important stories about the aftermath of the Parkland shooting to stay focused on.
Here are five things you need to know about the political debate surrounding firearms today:
1. FLORIDA HOUSE SET TO VOTE ON ARMING SCHOOL STAFF
The Florida Senate on Monday narrowly approved a bill that would implement a three-day wait to buy firearms, install a minimum age of 21 to buy any gun and launch a voluntary statewide program to train school personnel to carry concealed weapons. After hours of debate Tuesday, the House appears poised to do the same today. Check The Buzz for the latest from Tallahassee throughout the day.
2. HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY COMMISSION TO WEIGH WEAPONS BAN
In 2011 state legislators passed a law prohibiting local governments from instituting their own gun rules. Despite this, the Hillsborough County Commission will weigh restrictions proposed by Commissioner Les Miller. Follow Steve Contorno at @scontorno for updates from today’s commission meeting.
3. WOULD GOV. RICK SCOTT REMOVE LES MILLER FROM OFFICE?
The same state law that forbids local governments from enacting their own gun rules also allows the governor to remove any local official who does so. Does that mean Gov. Rick Scott would remove Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller from his elected post for his proposal today? Scott’s office said the governor will review whatever decisions are made in Tampa today. Follow Steve Contorno at @scontorno to find out more.
4. BETSY DEVOS TO VISIT STUDENTS, TEACHERS IN PARKLAND
The latest politician to visit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will be the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who is scheduled to visit the Parkland school today and talk to students and teachers. The event is closed to the media.
5. HILLSBOROUGH, PASCO SCHOOL BOARDS OPPOSE ARMING SCHOOL STAFF
Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins has been under pressure from students, teachers and the School Board to take a stand against the legislation that would allow school employees to be armed. And on Tuesday night, he joined the opposition to that measure. The Pasco County School Board shares that opposition. But what will that mean for today's debate in Tallahassee?
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