New gun control measures for Florida passed another legal hurdle

New gun control measures for Florida have passed another legal hurdle, weeks after one of the worst school shootings in US history.

The state's House of Representatives passed a bill raising the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and imposing a three-day waiting period on all gun sales.

The bill, already passed by the Senate, now goes to the state governor.

Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on 14 February.

Expelled former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of murder.

He is suspected of using a legally bought AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to carry out the 10-minute attack, gunning down teachers and students.

In addition to raising the age and bringing in the three-day waiting period, the legislation:

  • Introduces a voluntary armed "guardian program" for schools, named after Aaron Feis, a coach who died in the Parkland shooting. It allows school personnel to be armed, subject to school district approval and specialist training
  • Classroom teachers are excluded from carrying arms unless they have a security forces background
  • Bans devices, such as bump stocks, that modify a semi-automatic weapon to fully automatic
  • Raises mental health funding and increases the power to seize or ban guns under mental health concerns

The legislation does not include a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons like the AR-15, despite it being a key demand of Parkland students and their parents.

Florida law already mandates a three-day waiting period for the purchase of a handgun but a person as young as 18 can buy a rifle with no waiting period.

The Republican-controlled House debated the bill for about eight hours on Wednesday before voting 67-50 in favor.

Read more on BBC.

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