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Florida Gov. Rick Scott spurns conservatives, NRA by signing new gun regulations into law

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during a business session with state governors hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump in the State Dining Room at the White House February 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scott signed new gun control regulations into law Friday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott put his A-plus rating with the National Rifle Association at risk by signing into law gun regulations that give both sides some of what they want while also leaving everyone wanting more.

About the law

The law is called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. Here's what it does:

  • Raises the minimum age for firearm purchases to 21 from 18
  • Imposes a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases
  • Bans the sale or possession of bump stocks
  • Funds a program to allow some teachers and school staff to carry guns after 132 hours of firearm training and 12 hours of diversity training
  • Makes it easier for law enforcement to temporarily seize guns and ammo from people with mental health issues
  • Provides additional funding for mental health services
  • Funds the destruction and rebuilding of Douglas High School's freshman building

Scott's stance on the law

Scott said he opposed parts of the law, including the new waiting period and the program to arm teachers. Still, he touted it as a good solution and a conversation-starter.

"I am going to do what I think are common sense solutions," Scott said, according to The Washington Post. "I think this is the beginning. There is now going to be a real conversation about how we make our schools safe."

Scott, who is eyeing a Senate bid against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), criticized the federal government for failing to take any meaningful steps following the tragedy in Parkland.

"If you look at the federal government, nothing seems to have happened there," Scott said. "You go elect people, you expect them to represent you, get things done."

The governor's support of the bill contrasts with his comments on the Second Amendment, made at the NRA Annual Meeting in April.

"We love tourists, new residents and the Second Amendment," Scott said in April, according to The Washington Post. "What does 'shall not' infringe on the people's right to bear arms mean? It means shall not infringe. It's not really complicated."

Criticism of the law

The law strikes a tenuous political middle ground, as Democrats and other gun control advocates would have preferred to see an assault weapons ban included, while many Republicans, the NRA and other gun rights advocates believe the restrictions in the law represent a violation of the Second Amendment.

The NRA attempted to mobilize citizens against the bill earlier in the week, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"YOU and every other law-abiding gun owner is being blamed for an atrocious act of premeditated murder," wrote NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer on Tuesday. "Neither the 3-day waiting period on all rifles and shotguns, raising the age from 18 to 21 to buy any firearm, or the bump stock ban will have any effect on crime. Despite that fact, Senate leaders rammed through gun control as part of the bill."

The Florida Education Association opposed the funding to arm teachers, which Scott allowed in the law despite having the ability to use a line-item veto to reject it.

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