Florida lawmakers to discuss gun reform bill amid calls for change

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida lawmakers are scheduled to discuss a gun reform bill in session, Monday, as thousands of protesters are expected to descend on the state capital to demand an assault rifle ban.

The National Rifle Association also has plans to speak out on the polarizing issue as well, days after Florida Gov. Rick Scott released his plan to protect students.

“I listened. I listened to law enforcement. I listened to educators. I listened to mental health people. I listened to students. I talked to parents,” said Scott during an interview with Fox News Sunday.

Monday morning, more rallying cries are coming to the State Capitol. More than 1,000 people from South Florida, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Tampa, Gainesville and others are bussing to Tallahassee to protest and plead with legislators.

About 250 parents and local elected officials boarded five buses in Pompano Beach alone and began the journey to the capital.

“We have literally seen our teachers and students gunned down by a brutal military-grade weapon,” said one woman boarding the bus. “This is the most important issue, it is life or death.”

For the first time, Floridians will hear lawmakers debate a gun reform package on the state Senate floor.

“We’re not happy with the current state of affairs with regards to the gun laws in this state, and we’re going to be holding our elected officials accountable,” said mother Laurie Woodward Garcia. We want to show up there and make our vocies heard.”

Intense public testimony is all but certain. Along with those pushing for an assault rifle ban, NRA members are also slated to speak to state senators.

Scott has distanced himself from the NRA lately, but has repeatedly said he is against any ban on any weapon.

“I’m not into banning specific weapons,” he said. “I think what you need to do is ban specific people from having weapons.”

While the governor’s original proposal is expected to change slightly during the legislative process, he said the goal is still the same: to prevent another mass shooting tragedy.

“I believe what we’re doing, I believe it will stop this from happening,” said Scott.

In addition to holding demonstrations, thousands of protesters also plan to pack the state Senate meeting. They said they will return to Tallahassee once it’s time for the state House to hear the gun reform bill.

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