The Latest: NRA lobbyist takes issue with Florida gun plans

The Latest: NRA lobbyist takes issue with Florida gun plans

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Estimated read time: 9-10 minutes

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the deadly Florida school shooting (all times local):

7 p.m.

The National Rifle Association's longtime Florida lobbyist has sent an email alert criticizing gun safety proposals introduced by the governor and lawmakers.

Former NRA President Marion P. Hammer sent the email titled "Don't Let Them Blame You For Parkland" on Friday evening.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Rick Scott and legislators announced their plans to make schools safer in response to a mass shooting that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last week.

Hammer says the proposed three-day waiting period to buy a gun would not have stopped the Parkland shooter, a ban on bump stocks is irrelevant and raising the minimum age to buy a gun to 21 would be unfair.

She also mentions several proposals the NRA could support, such as "hardening our schools," putting officers in schools and training volunteer teachers to use guns.


Fashion house Gucci is the latest donor to give $500,000 to students organizing marches against gun violence.

Public relations assistant Veronica Mineo confirmed in an email Friday that Gucci will be donating the money to the "March for Our Lives" movement. The donation was first reported in WWD.

Students are mobilizing a March 24 march in Washington to urge lawmakers to enact tougher gun control in response to a shooting that left 17 dead last week at a Florida high school.

Actor George Clooney and wife Amal, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, director Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg have all pledged $500,000 donations to the activists.


5:40 p.m.

A Republican lawmaker from Florida and a longtime member of the National Rifle Association says he now supports an assault weapon ban.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and lost both legs when a roadside bomb detonated. He is serving his first term in the House.

Writing in The New York Times, Mast says he didn't worry about becoming a casualty in Afghanistan and he's not worried about becoming a "political casualty" now.

He says he supports defining what constitutes an assault firearm and not allowing them for future purchase, just as is with fully automatic weapons.

Mast is breaking from the vast majority of GOP lawmakers in the wake of last week's school shooting that left 17 people dead.


5:20 p.m.

A woman close to the teen charged with killing 17 people at a Florida high school warned the FBI he had rifles and said, "I know he is going to explode."

That's according to a transcript of the Jan. 5 tip to the FBI's call center, which was obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The FBI has acknowledged it failed to investigate the tip about 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. But the transcript, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, provides new details.

The woman described Cruz's short temper and said he had the "mental capacity of a 12 to 14 year old."

She said Cruz posted pictures of weapons on social media, writing, "I want to kill people."

The woman told the FBI, "I do believe something's going to happen."


3:30 p.m.

U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was critically wounded by a gunman last year at a congressional baseball practice, says he is "irate" that a sheriff's deputy did not try to stop the shooter at a Florida high school last week.

The Louisiana Republican says he was "blessed" that two U.S. Capitol police officers engaged the shooter at the baseball practice, saving Scalise and other members of Congress.

Scalise told Fox Business Network that in Florida, "you had an armed deputy hiding out instead of stopping the shooter. The FBI had this kid's name months ago ... and let him slip through the cracks. It makes you irate."

Scalise said there's "no magic bill" that will prevent the next incident when laws "already on the books weren't being enforced."


2:30 p.m.

Major League Baseball is honoring victims of the Florida school shooting by wearing caps with the school's initials.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball coach Todd Fitz-Gerald and his sons were guests of the Houston Astros for their spring opener against the Washington Nationals on Friday. The coach said that getting a moment to stop thinking about the Valentine's Day tragedy that left 17 people dead by getting back to the sport he loves was a relief.

The rest of the Stoneman Douglas baseball team and the school's softball team spent time with the Miami Marlins before their game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Marlins players and staff wore maroon shirts that read "MSD STRONG" before the game, and chief executive officer and part owner Derek Jeter mingled with the teams and even posed for selfies with some players.

Many teams will have players sign the caps and they will be auctioned to benefit the victims and families affected by the shooting.


1:15 p.m.

The Florida legislature's gun safety proposal would allow trained teachers to be armed, a key difference from the governor's plan.

State Senate President Joe Negron says a joint proposal by the state legislature will take concrete steps to make schools safer in response to a mass shooting that left 17 people dead at a high school last week.

Negron made the comments Friday afternoon, after Gov. Rick Scott announced his gun safety plan.

The legislature's proposal is similar to Scott's, including requiring people to be at least 21 to gun a buy and banning the sale of bump stocks. The plan also increases funding for mental health issues involving students and young adults.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran said the legislature's proposal also would allow a teacher who has completed the training required to be a law enforcement officer to carry a gun in school. He called that aspect of the plan a "game changer."


12:45 p.m.

Florida's Democratic senator says the Republican governor's plan to prevent gun violence is showing "weak" leadership in the wake of a shooting that killed 17 people at a high school.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to ban the sale of firearms to anyone younger than 21 is "the bare minimum."

The senator said Scott's plan doesn't ensure comprehensive criminal background checks or ban weapons such as the AR-15 style rifle used in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Nelson said that instead of listening to students, parents and teachers demanding action, Scott is "once again choosing to listen only to the NRA."

The governor met with students Wednesday night.

Nelson said the AR-15 needs to be banned and criminal background checks need to be expanded for anyone buying a gun.



The Florida governor's newly announced gun safety plan focuses on keeping firearms out of the hands of violent people.

Gov. Rick Scott said at a Friday news conference in Tallahassee that he wants to make it "virtually impossible" for a dangerous person to get a gun.

Scott's plan creates a "violent threat restraining order" allowing a court to prevent a violent person from having a gun when family member of law enforcement officers present evidence of a threat.

In addition, anyone involuntarily committed for mental health treatment would be required to surrender their firearms for a minimum of 60 days.

People subject to protective orders for stalking, cyberstalking and domestic violence would also be prohibited from having or buying a gun.


Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said teachers returning to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday are doing their best to be strong.

Runcie told reporters outside the Parkland school that he did not want to see teachers in his district carrying guns in the future. He said he was "totally against arming teachers" because "they have a challenging job as it is."

Authorities have said the armed school resource officer on campus did nothing to stop the shooter who killed 17 people at the school on Valentine's Day.

Runcie said he did not know why the officer failed to act, but there was nothing prohibiting him from entering the building where the shooting began.

Runcie said students and teachers who do not want to ever return to the high school will be transferred to other schools in the county.


11:45 a.m.

Florida's governor is proposing a three-point plan to prevent gun violence that includes banning the sale of firearms to anyone younger than 21 in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida high school.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the plan at a news conference Friday in Tallahassee. He began by reading aloud the names of the victims who were fatally shot a Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Scott's plan also calls for a trained law enforcement officer in every school in Florida by the time the 2018 school year begins. He is proposing one officer for every 1,000 students on campus. Stoneman Douglas had one armed resource officer, who never entered the school during the shooting.

The sale of bump stocks will be completely banned under the proposal.

The plan will require mandatory active shooter training at all schools. Students, teachers and staff must complete all training and "code red" drills by the end of the first week of each semester.


11 a.m.

An off-duty police officer who was on a Florida high school campus during a mass shooting says a wounded student provided "spot on" detail about the shooter.

Coral Springs police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich said during a news conference Friday that he was helping with maintenance on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball field Feb. 14 when the shooting broke out.

Heinrich says he ran toward the parking lot where kids were running. That's where he found Kyle, whose last name he didn't provide, bleeding from a massive wound. He took him to the baseball clubhouse where the student gave "tremendous descriptions" of the shooter's clothing and location.

"He was spot on," Heinrich said.

Heinrich broke down as he described a phone call minutes later with his wife, who's an assistant athletic director at the school, and his son, who's on the baseball team. They were locked in a room with two teachers and 62 students on the opposite side of the school.

Calling the school community his family, he said, "Those are kids and teachers and staff I've known for years.


9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the armed officer who didn't stop the gunman who carried out last week's Florida massacre was either a "coward" or "didn't react properly under pressure."

Trump was departing the White House for the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday when he said: "When it came time to get in there and do something" Florida deputy Scot Peterson "didn't have the courage or something happened."

Trump added, "he certainly did a poor job, there's no question about that."

Officials announced Thursday that Peterson never went inside to engage the gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while the shooting that killed 17 was underway.

Trump is calling the episode "a real shot to the police department" and says this "could have been prevented."


Follow the AP's complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here:

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