Fla. senate revokes 2-year ban on AR-15s minutes after it passes

For a moment, Florida lawmakers gave gun control a shot.

The Florida state senate briefly approved a two-year freeze on the sale of AR-15 assault rifles on Saturday — before overturning the measure 15 minutes after the initial vote.

The semi-automatic rifle was the type used in the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre on Feb. 14.

The fleeting prohibition came on an unrecorded voice vote, in which lawmakers shouted yea or nay, according to the Tampa Bay Times. It was swiftly reconsidered and overturned by a more formal roll call vote of 21-17.

The Parkland shooting has reignited the national conversation about gun control and spurred state and federal lawmakers to reassess sweeping firearm reforms.

RELATED: Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure\

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Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react after the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sheryl Acquaroli, (L), and Ashley Santoro, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, raises his hand as part of a move to make members of the House of Representatives have their vote recorded during his request to have a bill banning assault rifles pulled from committee and brought immediately to the House for a vote at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, looks on his computer at gun control bills moving through the Senate as he talks with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those that support their cause, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School walk by a sign in the Senate office building on the way to speak with Florida state legislators, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocating for a change in gun control laws listen during a meeting with Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Florence Yared, 17, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, waits in a hallway to speak with Florida state legislators about legislation that could prevent future tragedies, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
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Two out of three adults in the United States want stricter gun laws, CBS found in a poll conducted a week after tragedy. But among Republicans, 54% want gun laws left alone or made less strict.

All of the votes in the Florida senate that rejected the bill banning AR-15s were from Republicans.

They argued that a ban on any specific weapon would be unconstitutional and the first step toward confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami), meanwhile, called assault rifles “weapons of war designed to kill efficiently and effectively … and then they’re modified for civilian use by a $17 billion industry.”

The state’s legislature weighed several other gun-related measures on Saturday, including bills concerning mental health and school safety. Final votes on the measures are set for Monday.

The confusion in Florida reflects the greater uncertainty on the issue in the nation’s capital.

President Trump, called on lawmakers to lead the charge toward comprehensive gun reform, has instead left many frustrated as he oscillates between calling for tougher laws and declaring his allegiance to his friends the National Rifle Association.

“Background Checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment!” Trump tweeted earlier in the week.

Trump called for a “beautiful” and “comprehensive” bill at a bipartisan meeting that was followed by a private session with NRA officials on Thursday.

“Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!” Trump tweeted.

The lack of direction from the White House has left advocates and activists fuming as Congress prepares to move on to other issues.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shelved the gun debate on the federal level for the moment, saying the Senate will turn next week to other measures.

Republicans have largely backed away from stricter gun limits, while Democrats emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric are pushing for ambitious action, including expanded background checks and even a politically risky ban on assault weapons.

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