March 7 (UPI) — Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, both of Florida, introduced a bill Wednesday to incentivize states to enact gun violence restraining orders less than one month after a deadly shooting at a school in their home state.
The legislation, which five states have already passed, would allow family members or authorities to petition a court to prevent a person from having guns if they are deemed dangerous. The federal law would provide grants to states seeking to enact the legislation.
“It would be a tool,” Rubio, a Republican, said, to prevent “dangerous individuals from being able to take the next step and actually take the lives of innocent people.”
More than a dozen states, including Florida, were working on gun violence restraining order bills.
“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.
Nelson, a Democrat, praised his fellow senator for taking action on gun control less than a month after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 14 students and three faculty members.
“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,” Nelson said, referring to a televised meeting in which activists challenged Rubio on stage about gun violence.