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New Florida gun control proposals make notable break with NRA

President Trump at CPAC again insisted that arming teachers would help stop mass shootings, despite disapproval of many education groups, and repeated his call to keep seriously mentally ill people from buying guns. But in Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott broke with the president and the NRA in announcing new gun control proposals for his state. William Brangham reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The debate over guns, school safety and mass shootings took a turn today, as the president pushed again for arming teachers.

    But, in Florida, its Republican Governor Rick Scott broke with the president and the NRA over that and some other measures.

    William Brangham has our report.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It’s time to make our schools a much harder target for attackers.

  • William Brangham:

    The president insisted again today that arming teachers would help stop mass shootings. Even though many education groups say more guns in schools is a bad idea, in his speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, President Trump reiterated his support.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I don’t want a person that’s never handled a gun, that wouldn’t know what a gun looks like, to be armed. The teachers and the coaches and other people in the building, the dean, the assistant Dean, the principal, they can — they love their people. They want to protect threat kids.

    And I think we’re better with that. It’s not all of them. But you would have a lot. So, this crazy man who walked in wouldn’t even know who it is that has it. That’s good. It’s not bad. That’s good. And a teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened.


  • William Brangham:

    The president also repeated his call to strengthen background checks to keep seriously mentally ill people from buying guns.

    For the record, the president signed a law last year that many say does just the opposite.

    And the president called out the armed Florida deputy stationed at the school who stayed outside the attack.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The deputy who didn’t go into the school because he was he didn’t want to go into the school, OK? He was tested under fire, and that wasn’t a good result.

  • Scott Israel:

    We’re not going to disclose the video at this time.

  • William Brangham:

    Last night, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said video showed that deputy, Scot Peterson, seen here in archival video, rushed to the west side of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    Peterson heard gunshots inside, but instead of entering, he waited outside for at least four minutes as the shooting continued. The attack lasted roughly six minutes. Deputy Peterson was suspended without pay, and has since resigned.

  • Scott Israel:

    What matters is that when we in law enforcement arrive at an active shooter, we go in and address the target, and that’s what should have been done. There are no words. I mean, these families lost their children. We lost coaches. I have been to the funerals. I have been to the homes where they sit in shiva. I have been to the vigils.

  • William Brangham:

    There were other revelations of missed opportunities overnight. Since 2008, the sheriff’s office had received 23 calls related to the suspected shooter or his brother, among them, a warning about an Instagram post of himself with guns threatening to shoot up a school.

    And last year, a caller reported the suspect was collecting weapons, and could be — quote — “a school shooter in the making.”

    Officials also said surveillance footage of the school during the shooting wasn’t shown live to other police, meaning they were watching 20-minute-old video while they were responding, and mistakenly believed the alleged shooter was still inside.

    For his part, Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott announced new proposals for gun control for his state, going further than he has before.

  • Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla.:

    Today, I’m announcing a major action plan.

  • William Brangham:

    They include banning the sale of any firearms to people younger than 21. Until now in Florida, that only applied to handguns. Scott also called for placing one armed, trained officer for every 1,000 students at public schools starting next fall, and he called for banning bump stocks.

  • Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla.:

    The goal of this plan of action is to make massive changes in protecting our schools, provide significantly more resources for mental health, and to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of those dealing with mental problems or threatening harm to themselves or others.

  • William Brangham:

    Some of those proposals were a notable break with the NRA, and Scott said he disagreed with the president when it comes to the idea of arming teachers.

    Meanwhile, police officers and first-responders from the scene gathered today to tell their harrowing stories. Sergeant Jeff Heinrich broke down while recounting how, after he relayed a description of the shooter to police, he located his own children inside the school.

  • Jeff Heinrich:

    And by the grace of God, my wife and my son, who were at opposite ends of the school, my son was out on a bathroom pass, and my wife was in planning inside the girls locker room. And they both heard the fire alarm and decided to evacuate. By the grace of God, when they walked down the hallway, they found each other.

  • William Brangham:

    Teachers arrived today at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high for the first time since the shooting. It’s slated to officially reopen and resume classes next Tuesday.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    There were new details today about a tipster’s call to the FBI a little more than a month before the Florida attack. A woman who knew the alleged shooter claimed that he had an arsenal of weapons and that she was worried he might be — quote — “getting into a school and just shooting the place up.”

    She added, “I know he’s going to explode.”

    The woman also told the FBI that he had threatened his mother with a rifle before she later died of other causes. Details of the call were reported by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

    And we will have more on mental health issues being debated right after the news summary.

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