TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a school safety bill passed by the Legislature in response to the Feb. 14 massacre of 17 people at a high school.

The $400 million bill signed Friday falls short of what Scott and the shooting’s survivors wanted. It also marks Scott’s break with the National Rifle Association.

It raises the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21, extends a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns and bans bump stocks that allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire. It also creates a so-called “guardian” program that enables teachers and other school employees to carry handguns.

Student activists from the school where the shooting took place followed the bill’s track closely and called it “a baby step.”

Meanwhile, the 19-year-old former student accused of opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day made his initial appearance before a judge on 17 attempted murder charges added this week by a grand jury. In the brief hearing Friday, Nikolas Cruz stood with his head bowed as he appeared via video conference. He is also charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder.

Cruz’s public defender withdrew an initial not guilty plea, leaving him to “stand mute” for now, but has said he will plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table and sentence him to life in prison instead. Prosecutors have not announced a decision.

But all of Friday’s focus was on the Florida Legislature, which delivered the school safety bill to Scott on Thursday. The bill narrowly passed the House and Senate, and falls short of what he wanted and what survivors of the massacre demanded. Florida’s teachers union and the National Rifle Association opposed it.

The measure raises the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21, extend a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns and ban bump stocks that allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire.

In schools, it will create a “guardian” program enabling staff with law enforcement training and school district approval to carry concealed handguns on campus. It will create new mental health programs for schools and establish an anonymous tip line where students and others could report threats. It also seeks to improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies.

The NRA opposes raising age limits to buy weapons or imposing new waiting periods. In a statement Thursday, NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer called the bill “a display of bullying and coercion” that would violate Second Amendment rights and punish law-abiding citizens.

Teachers, meanwhile, called on Scott to use his line-item veto power to zero out the $67 million set aside for the program to train and arm school employees. The Florida Education Association sent a letter to Scott on Thursday saying only trained law enforcement officers should have guns in schools.

The Republican governor, who is expected to seek a U.S. Senate seat later this year, has called for raising the minimum age to purchase any type of gun and said he does not support arming teachers. Instead, he wanted lawmakers to adopt his own $500 million proposal to put at least one law enforcement officer in every school.

President Trump congratulated Florida lawmakers, saying they “passed a lot of very good legislation.” Trump also said the White House is working on a plan to ban bump stocks and efforts to enhance background checks were “moving along well” in Congress.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed, said more needs to be done, but there’s enough good in the bill that it should become law.

“My precious daughter Meadow’s life was taken, and there’s nothing I can do to change that. But make no mistake: I’m a father, and I’m on a mission. I’m on a mission to make sure I’m the last dad to ever read a statement of this kind.”

Associated Press writers Terry Spencer, Jennifer Kay and Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami contributed to this report.

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