As a news conference on Wednesday night, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said when you try to figure out how 16 students and a coach could have been shot dead at a high school, as happened in Parkland earlier in the day, "you come to the conclusion that this is absolutely pure evil." Police arrested the suspected gunman, a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who used at least one AR-15 military style-rifle and "countless magazines" to carry out his massacre, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters.
Gov. Scott, who is considering a Senate run this year, waved off a question about changing gun and mental health laws after yet another school shooting. "There's a time to continue to have these conversations about how through law enforcement, how through mental illness funding that we make sure that people are safe," he said.
Scott has a A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, which touted his record in 2014, saying that after he signed "five pro-gun bills into law" that year, he "has now signed more pro-gun bills into law — in one term — than any other governor in Florida history." The alleged gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was recently orphaned and kept his AR-15 in a gun safe at the friend's house where he has been living, a family spokesman said. "It was secured in a gun cabinet in the house, but he had the key to it."
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Since 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, "there have been at least 273 school shootings nationwide," The New York Times reports, and "in those incidents, 439 people were shot, 121 of whom were killed." Beginning with the Columbine shooting 19 years ago, The Washington Post adds, "more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus."
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