NEW: St. Lucie sheriff asks gun stores to voluntarily restrict semi-automatic gun sales

Feb 27, 2018
A protest banner at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. (Photo by Jim Hayward)

In the wake of the Broward County school shooting that killed 17 people nearly two weeks ago, a local sheriff is asking firearms dealers to voluntarily stop selling semi-automatic weapons to persons under the age of 21. 

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara sent a letter Tuesday to gun stores across the county asking them to restrict gun sales.

“I am asking you as a responsible, licensed gun dealer in our community to voluntarily suspend the sale of any ‘assault’ or semi-automatic firearms to any person under the age of 21,” Mascara wrote. 

In the letter, Mascara writes that he was “sickened” by the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and said more needs to be done to prevent similar tragedies.

“This unspeakable act was carried out by a sick individual who didn’t get the mental health treatment needed, and the inadequacies of our legal system did not block him from acquiring a weapon to which he never should have had access,” Mascara wrote. 

Authorities arrested Nikolas Cruz, 19,  on 17 counts of premeditated murder, alleging that he entered a building on campus armed with an AR-15 and began firing at students and teachers he saw in the hallways. 

On Friday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott proposed a ban of all firearms to anyone under the age of 21. Mascara referenced Scott’s proposal, but warned that “legislative process is slow to act.”

Mascara described the voluntary restriction as a common-sense proposal that “while not perfect, might just save a life.”