Florida lawmakers pass on assault weapons debate for the second day in a row

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - For the second day in a row, state lawmakers passed on debating an assault rifle ban as dozens of survivors from last week's school shooting watched.

Legislative leaders say the debate will happen, just not yet.

At its first meeting since the deaths at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Florida Senate paid tribute to the victims through a slide show and a moment of silence.

Two gun bills, including one allowing concealed carry in churches, were on the agenda until controversial amendments banning assault rifles and adding waiting periods were filed.

Amendment Sponsor Senator Gary Farmer wanted to know when the bills would come up.

We asked if the Senate was afraid of the debate.

"Yeah, yeah, they are afraid of the debate, I think," Farmer said.

Senate sponsors say they will keep trying to amend an assault ban on any gun bill that goes to the Senate floor.

In a long Q&A with the students, House Speaker Richard Corcoran defended the procedural vote, taking dozens of tough questions.

"The AR-15 did so much damage. How is an individual in society allowed to acquire such a gun?" asked MSDHS Junior Alondra Gittelson.

In the end, Corcoran said an assault rifle ban wasn't likely, but money should be no object.

"If it's $200 million, it's $200 million. The issue is not the number, the issue is solving the problem," he said.

And the admittedly exhausted students said they were tired of what they were hearing.

"They're using political double talk as much as they can," said Ryan Deitsch, a junior at Stoneman Douglas High.

And they added a warning.

"The people around us failed us, and if they continue to fail us, they will no longer be in office because soon we will be given the ability to vote, and we will vote them out," said one Stoneman Douglas student, Delaney Tarr.

Whether or not they win a ban this year, it's clear the students have put an exclamation point on the gun debate.

The governor has promised to announce on Friday his plans to prevent future shootings. Legislative leaders say the conversations at the capitol have been ongoing since the shooting.