The Latest: School safety bill moves ahead in Florida Senate

FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2018 file photo, Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in the Florida high school shooting, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Cruz reportedly had a history of shooting small animals. While some animal welfare advocates question the usefulness of animal abuser registries, laws creating them have been passed in a growing number of municipalities in recent years with proponents citing studies linking animal cruelty to crimes ranging from domestic violence to mass shootings. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

PARKLAND, Fla. - The Latest on the aftermath of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

A Florida Senate committee has approved that chamber's version of the school safety bill.

The bill was approved on a 13-7 vote Tuesday evening.

Sen. Bill Galvano, who is designated to become the next Senate president and is ushering through the bill, said the earliest it will be considered by the full Senate is Friday.

There were a mix of Democrats and Republicans who didn't support the bill. Democrats objected to the idea of arming teachers and Republicans opposed new restrictions on gun sales and ownership.

One difference between the House and Senate bills is that the Senate would make the sale of bump stocks illegal, but not possessing the devices that are used to make semi-automatic rifles fire more rapidly. The House bill bans possessing bump stocks.

Galvano said it is an issue he'll think about, but he wasn't comfortable with instantly making felons out of people who now own the devices.

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5 p.m.

Gov. Rick Scott says his goal is to make sure the school shooting that left 17 dead in Florida earlier this month is the last one the state ever experiences.

Scott met with officials Tuesday in Miami-Dade County, where he outlined his plans to get a school safety bill passed before Florida's annual legislative session ends next Friday.

Scott says he wants to spend $500 million to increase law enforcement and mental health counsellors at schools, to make buildings more secure with metal detectors and steel doors and to create an anonymous tip line.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day, says he hopes Florida will be an example for the rest of the country. He said, "I want to be the last father of a murdered kid that's ever in this country."

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4 p.m.

Authorities say they've arrested a Florida teen who threatened to kill students and had a pipe bomb in his home.

A Broward Sheriff's Office news release says the 16-year-old boy was arrested Monday night at his Pompano Beach home.

The release says the teen was playing an online video game that afternoon when he made the alarming statement. A tipster called Boca Raton police, who then contacted the Broward Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office, along with Homeland Security and the FBI, responded to the teen's home. Deputies reported finding a homemade pipe bomb and weapons.

The teen faces a felony charge for possessing explosives.

Pompano Beach is in the same county where 17 people died during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

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2 p.m.

A Florida House committee responded to the Parkland school shootings by approving a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy any gun, require a three-day waiting period for rifle purchases and create a program that could allow some teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

The 23-6 vote Tuesday followed more than four hours of emotional discussion, including from parents of some of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a former Parkland vice mayor, said he didn't like the bill, but still voted for it. He explained, "It doesn't go far enough, and now it goes too far in other areas. But the NRA opposes it and I will not vote with the NRA."

His views reflected many of those who testified before the committee, saying they wanted a ban on assault rifles that the committee rejected, and that they opposed the idea of arming teachers.

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12 p.m.

A board of county commissioners is honouring the Florida police officer credited with taking a suspected school shooter into custody about an hour after 17 people were gunned down at a nearby high school.

The Broward County Commission declared Tuesday as Officer Michael Leonard and Coconut Creek Police Department Appreciation Day.

Leonard and police Chief Albert "Butch" Arenal received the honour during a commission meeting. Leonard told commissioners it wasn't about him. "It's about my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, fire rescue, first responders. We all had a role that day."

He told news outlets he spotted 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walking in a neighbourhood some 2 miles from the school. He recognized the suspect from police radio traffic and said Cruz offered no resistance when stopped.

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11:35 a.m.

Mississippi lawmakers have proposed letting teachers and other school employees with special training carry guns onto campus.

The Senate Judiciary A Committee on Tuesday amended House Bill 1083 , allowing public and private school administrators to establish school safety programs that would allow teachers to carry guns. School employees would have to receive 12 hours of training every two years from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

Senate Judiciary A Committee Chairman Briggs Hopson, a Vicksburg Republican, says the bill responds to recent school shootings, including in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed at a high school. President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association support such measures.

Hopson's measure also amends an underlying House bill to bar people with enhanced concealed carry permits from carrying guns into athletic events. That measure would allow people to challenge other gun restriction.

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10:15 a.m.

Florida House Republicans are rejecting Democratic-filed amendments to a school safety bill that would ban assault weapons, strip language that would allow some teachers to carry guns in schools and require a mental health examination before someone could purchase a gun.

The House appropriations committee was considering a bill Tuesday that would raise the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21 and creates a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases. The bill would also create a program that allows teachers who receive law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff's office to carry concealed weapons in the classroom if also approved by the school district.

Unlike Monday, when hundreds of sometimes rowdy protesters jammed a Senate meeting to consider a similar bill, Tuesday's proceedings were more orderly. But still, several speakers spoke in favour of the assault weapons ban.

The amendment to ban assault weapons was rejected on an 18-11 vote.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up a similar bill later Tuesday.

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10:15 a.m.

A 13-year-old Florida boy is accused of threatening to bring his gun to school and shoot everyone at his middle school.

Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman Andrew Gant tells news outlets the Galaxy Middle School student was angry at his teacher when he made the threat Monday.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports it was the eighth arrest of a Volusia County student for making violent threats since the mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida on Feb. 14.

In Monday's incident, Gant says a school resource officer responded when the student stood up and said, "I'm going to bring out my Glock and shoot everyone."

The student told the deputy he was joking and doesn't have access to weapons.

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9:35 a.m.

Prosecutors and defence lawyers for Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz have reached an agreement on DNA and other samples he'll provide.

The Broward State Attorney's office says a court hearing on the matter scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled because of the agreement.

In addition to DNA, prosecutors will get a hair sample from Cruz, as well as fingerprints and photographs.

The 19-year-old Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder in the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Police say Cruz confessed to the crime.

Cruz wasn't expected to appear at the hearing.

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9:20 a.m.

A judge has refused to step aside from the case of Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz as requested by his lawyers.

Court records show that Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer denied the request Monday.

Cruz's lawyers claimed Scherer has made rulings and comments that indicate favouritism for prosecutors. They say in court papers that Cruz can't get a fair trial, but Scherer disagreed.

Cruz's lawyers' concerns revolve around a debate last week on whether to keep a defence confidential motion secret. Cruz, who's 19, is charged with 17 counts of murder in the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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7:55 a.m.

The suspect in the mass shooting at a Florida high school refused to let the district continue providing him with mental health services after he turned 18 and the superintendent of schools says federal law kept them from doing anything about it.

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie tells the Sun Sentinel "You can't make someone do something when the law says they have the right to make that determination."

Nikolas Cruz, now 19, is accused killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

Runcie says Cruz had attended a school with programs for emotionally and disabled students, and returned to Douglas in August 2016. By November, he says the "situation had deteriorated." With the support of his mother, Cruz refused special needs services and remained at the school until February 2017.

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7:35 a.m.

A court hearing on procedural matters for Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz has been cancelled.

Court records show a hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday is no longer on the docket. No immediate explanation was given.

Prosecutors had sought in the hearing to obtain an order allowing them to get hair and DNA samples from Cruz, as well as fingerprints and photographs.

The 19-year-old Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder in the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Police say Cruz confessed to the crime.

Cruz wasn't expected to appear at the hearing.

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6:15 p.m.

The Florida Senate Rules Committee has voted 9-4 for a bill that would raise the age to purchase rifles from 18 to 21 and create a three-day waiting period to buy the weapons.

Those rules are already in place for handguns. The bill also would make it easier to block gun sales or confiscate weapons from people who show violent tendencies or signs of mental illness.

The bill approved Monday also would let Florida counties authorize teachers to carry concealed weapons in school if they undergo law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff's office.

But the committee refused to add an overall assault-style weapon ban in the bill, voting that amendment down 6-7 after more than two hours of testimony from dozens of gun safety advocates. Those advocates pleaded with lawmakers to ban weapons like the AR-15 used to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

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Follow the AP's complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here: https://apnews.com/tag/Floridaschoolshooting .


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