1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Governor Scott: ‘My goal is to move the needle’

Plans to release formal legislative proposal on Friday
Gov. Rick Scott led a 90-minute discussion of possible solutions to gun violence on Tuesday at the state Capitol. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is at left and Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is at right. [Scott Keeler - Times]
Published Feb. 21, 2018
Updated Feb. 21, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday will propose a detailed response to last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

Scott met for 90 minutes Tuesday evening with experts in law enforcement, education and mental health, and was flanked by Attorney General Pam Bondi and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. He told reporters afterward: "We're going to come to a solution here … Everything is on the table."

Repeatedly pressed as to whether he will propose new gun restrictions, Scott fixed his eyes on a reporter and said: "Everything is on the table … Let's make sure we are doing the things that make a difference."

Scott, who has attended the funerals of several Parkland victims, described people approaching him in churches and synagogues with suggestions. He seems grimly aware that he is facing his most serious challenge as Florida governor, at a time when many students are fearful of going to school and the state is at the center of a national discussion of gun violence.

"My goal is to move the needle and make people feel more comfortable that their kids are going to go to a safe school," Scott said.

During Scott's seven years as governor, he has signed a series of new laws to relax gun restrictions. The amount of money the state spends on school safety has remained flat, even as school enrollment has continued to grow every year.

Scott's office said he has asked the Legislature to approve increases in the Safe Schools fund each year, including $10 million more next year.

The governor led a wide-ranging discussion on the Baker Act, school resource officers, active shooter drills and other issues. Noticeably absent was any talk of limiting access to semi-automatic rifles and extended magazines like the type used by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who has confessed to killing 17 people at the school.

Reports, not yet confirmed, circulated Tuesday night that state leaders have tentatively agreed to allocate $100 million for mental health programs and $100 million to improve security at schools, in addition to a new five-day waiting period for the purchase of an assault weapon in Florida.