On Feb. 23, ten days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida Gov. Rick Scott released a Major Action Plan to address the demands of the hundreds of MSD students who have been calling for the government to make real policy change in light of this tragedy. The plan contains three parts of legislation: gun safety, school safety and mental health reform.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, a group of students from across South Florida ventured on a trip to Tallahassee, organized by Sen. Gary Farmer, to speak with legislators. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, students from MSD went to Tallahassee on a trip planned by Sen. Lauren Book and MSD Junior Class President Jaclyn Corin.
Both groups of students spoke to various Florida state legislators in the House of Representatives and Senate about their personal experiences in the MSD shooting and their proposals for legislative change. Discussions centered on gun reform and safety, although the topics of school safety and mental health were also addressed.MajorActionPlan_02.23.18
Reactions to the proposal from Gov. Scott vary, but the general consensus seems to indicate that it is a small step towards change out of much that needs to be altered.
“Although there are a few nice ideas, it is like trying to put a bandaid on a stab wound; it is missing the bigger picture,” senior Sofie Whitney said.
The plan does not cover all aspects of change that the students of MSD have brought to the nation’s attention, but it addresses many areas of what went wrong in the case of the MSD shooting. Some aspects not addressed include waiting periods, universal background checks, arming teachers, banning assault weapons or preventative construction of future schools.
“While we have to start somewhere and I believe this bill is, in fact, a step towards the right direction, this is not nearly enough. Some of the ideas are great such as the ban of bump stocks and raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21. However, I still believe no one should be allowed to own an AR-15 for any reason, and that is not mentioned anywhere in this proposal,” senior Ashley Mcfarlane said.
If the ideas in the proposal by Gov. Scott is approved and passed by the Florida legislator, MSD will prove that a better and safer society is a realistic hope for future generations.