NRA Files Lawsuit Over Florida Gun Control Legislation

The National Rifle Association (NRA), a U.S. gun rights group, is suing the state of Florida for enacting gun control legislation that raises the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21.

Lawyers for the NRA are asking a federal judge to block the new age restriction, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican long allied with the NRA, signed the legislation earlier Friday after the Republican-controlled statehouse narrowly approved the measure.

The NRA insisted that the measure “punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual.”

In addition to the new age restriction, the Florida bill also adds a three-day waiting period to buy long guns, which was previously only for handguns. It also bans bump stocks, a device that allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire.

The law also creates a so-called “guardian” program that enables school staff to carry handguns if they wish and if they complete law enforcement training.

The legislation comes three weeks after a shooter killed 17 people at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“What I’m proud of in this state is that we reacted to a horrible situation,” Scott said after signing the bill Friday. He said the bill represents a compromise for people on both sides of the gun debate and balances “our individual rights with need for public safety.”

Student activists had campaigned for even tougher gun control restrictions, including a ban on assault-style weapons, which was not included in the final bill.

Authorities say the accused gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was 18 years old when he legally purchased the AR-15 assault-style rifle used in the massacre.

The NRA, which claims 5 million members, is one of the country’s most powerful lobbying groups for gun rights. Founded in 1871, it seeks to educate the public about firearms and defend U.S. citizens’ Second Amendment rights. It has directly lobbied for and against legislation since 1975.

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