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A HUNDRED pupils from the Florida secondary school where Nikolas Cruz shot dead 17 people on Valentine’s Day will demonstrate in the state capital tomorrow to demand gun control.
Members of the Florida legislature have said they will consider introducing a range of measures, including raising the legal age for buying guns to 21, introducing a waiting period before a purchase can be completed, banning “bump stocks” that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly and introducing “gun violence restraining orders” like those in California, where people who have threatened to shoot other people can have their right to own guns suspended for limited periods.
Critics say serious reform of the US gun laws is unlikely because the National Rifle Association (NRA) sponsors so many members of Congress. Fourteen of Florida’s 27 members of the House of Representatives received money from the NRA at the last election.
NRA-backed Senator Dennis Baxley has attacked gun control advocates for “politicising” the frequent school massacres in the US.
“We have a terrible problem with obesity, but we’re not banning forks and spoons,” Senator Baxley said today.
Mr Cruz has been linked to white supremacist militia the Republic of Florida, whose leader Jordan Jereb claimed that the gunman was a member who participated in “drills.”
However, Mr Jereb has since withdrawn his claim, while other members of the racist outfit claimed that the confusion was due to it having other members called Nicholas.
Mr Cruz’s lawyers are now saying that he is mentally unstable — a claim already made by President Donald Trump, who tweeted a day after the shooting that the man was “mentally disturbed” and said classmates should have reported him.
In fact, he had been reported to the FBI, but no action was taken.
Mr Trump had previously reversed a rule brought in by his predecessor Barack Obama which restricted access to guns for mentally ill people by requiring the Social Security Administration to send their details to the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The White House said today that the president, who is currently at his Florida golf course, was “supportive” of stricter background checks for gun buyers.
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