In the wake of any mass shooting, people across the country start demanding lawmakers do something, anything to prevent the next tragedy. Of course, not everyone agrees on what that “something” should be.
If you believe the problem is guns, then your answer is simple: enact stricter gun laws. But if you believe there’s a deeper issue at play, then your answer is a bit more complicated; it may include mental health reform, enhanced security at schools, or increased government accountability.
Or, if you’re Florida State Senator Bill Galvano, then the answer is all of the above. The Republican, who is slated to become the next state Senate president, is currently working with his colleagues on a number of proposals that are a bit, well, all over the place.
Earlier this week, the Florida House shot down a motion to consider an assault weapons ban. While Galvano understands that such an idea is impractical, especially in a pro-gun state like Florida, he’s not against further limiting access to these kinds of rifles.
First and foremost, the state senator would like to raise the legal age to possess an “assault rifle” to 21. Currently in Florida, as in most states, the legal age is 18.
Second, he would like to establish a three-day waiting period for all rifle purchases. However, according to Galvano, a “discussion” will be held to expand this prong to include all firearm purchases, even those made with a concealed weapons permit. As in most states with waiting periods, law enforcement and veterans would be exempt.
Third, Galvavo is looking to revise the state’s background check system to close any loopholes, specifically those that may allow people with mental illnesses to obtain a firearm. A ban on bump stocks was also thrown in.
But that’s not all. In addition to these gun control measures, Galvano also proposed increased funding for more resource officers at Florida schools, as well as more training for students and faculty so they know how to respond to an active shooter situation.
Even better, Galvano would like to create a “Sentinel Program.” The program, first introduced by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, would allow school staff who take a 132-hour training course and a psychological evaluation to conceal carry on campus so they can help combat an active shooter before authorities arrive.
As for mental health reform, Galvano is proposing the state increase funds for counseling in schools. He would also like to revise the state’s Baker Act. The Miami Herald offers more details, here:
Under current law, a person can be taken into custody for a mental health evaluation for up to 72 hours if an officer sees evidence the person is a danger to himself or herself or others. The proposed change would allow law enforcement to confiscate guns until the person is deemed to no longer be a threat. Law enforcement could take a person into custody for evaluation based on dangerous and threatening texts and messages, violent ramblings and threatening poses with weapons.
Galvano is also reportedly considering establishing gun violence restraining orders, also known as extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs). Simply put, these orders temporarily suspend a person’s right to bear arms if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Bearing Arms has touched on the issues with ERPOs in the past.
Lastly, Galvano would like to reinforce the idea of “see something, say something” by creating a hotline, managed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where students, staff, family members, etc. can report suspicious behavior.
As you can see, Galvano isn’t just trying to do something in the wake of Parkland, he’s trying to do everything. And, unfortunately, the measures with real merit here will likely get overshadowed by the various pieces of gun control that will do little to actually prevent the next school shooting.