Florida senators unveil gun violence restraining order legislation

Florida senators unveil gun violence restraining order legislation
© Greg Nash

Florida Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRussia leak raises questions about staff undermining Trump House members urge Senate to confirm Trump's NASA nominee Rubio: McCabe 'should've been allowed to finish through the weekend' MORE (R) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSteyer brings his push to impeach Trump to town halls across the nation Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support MORE (D) have proposed new legislation that would motivate states to create gun violence restraining orders following the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting.

"Today we're here to announce our intention to file legislation to encourage states ... [to] enact their own gun violence protection orders," Rubio said on Wednesday

The legislation, according to Rubio, would use grants to incentivize states to enact legislation that would allow law enforcement or family members to get a court order to block an individual deemed dangerous from getting a gun. 
Five states currently have such laws, known as "red flag" legislation, already on the books. More than a dozen states, including Florida, are considering similar proposals. 
"We believe that by incentivizing the states to do this we are creating the possibility ...[for] hopefully every state has a mechanism available," Rubio said. 
The bills have been in the spotlight since the Florida shooting in which 17 people were killed. Law enforcement officials have acknowledged they mishandled tips about the suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. 
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDems aim to turn ObamaCare hikes into election weapon Steyer brings his push to impeach Trump to town halls across the nation Trump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate MORE (R-S.C.) are working on a federal "red flag" law, though Rubio appeared skeptical on Wednesday that it would be able to get the votes to pass. 

Wednesday's bill is one of six Rubio said last week that he would either introduce or support after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Rubio has come under criticism for his position on guns since the shooting, including during an emotionally charged CNN town hall where he fielded questions from classmates and family members of the victims. 
Nelson praised Rubio on Wednesday while also appearing to take a veiled shot at President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse expected to vote on omnibus Thursday afternoon House passes 'right to try' drug bill Spending bill rejects Trump’s proposed EPA cut MORE and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who were invited to the same CNN town hall but did not attend.
"I am very grateful that he is willing to take this step which I think in light of what had happened at the CNN town hall was very courageous on his part to go. Others did not go after being invited," he said. 
Scott is widely expected to challenge Nelson for the Florida seat in this year's midterm election. 
Despite a flurry of legislation introduced after the Florida shooting, the debate has largely stalemated in the Senate, with no sign of votes being brought up in the immediate future. 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmtrak to rename Rochester station after Louise Slaughter Conscience protections for health-care providers should be standard Pension committee must deliver on retirement promise MORE (D-N.Y.) said this week that Democrats would try to force floor action after a March 24 rally. With the Senate heading out of town for two weeks on March 23, that would push any tactics into April. 
Republicans have also balked over Trump's push to go broader, including "powerful" background checks and raising the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21. 
Nelson said on Wednesday that his bill with Rubio is a "step in the right direction" but indicated he ultimately wants Congress to go further. 
"Ultimately I think that the solution to the problem is universal background checks and the removal of assault weapons off of our streets. But this is a good step in the right direction and we've got to be practical," he said.