Florida State Senate Approves Bill to Arm Teachers in Schools
Legislation to allow teachers to carry firearms passes state Senate with majority vote
The Florida state Senate has approved a bill that would allow teachers to carry firearms in schools.
The bill passed with a majority vote and proposes to arm teachers on school grounds if local school boards agree to allow staffers to carry their firearms.
The Senate voted 22-17 to approve the bill, setting it up a vote in the state House.
Local school boards and charter school governing boards would still have to vote on whether or not they would authorize teachers to be armed on their individual campuses, should the legislation be signed into law.
Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed support for allowing teachers to carry firearms in schools.
Teachers would be armed on a voluntary basis and would have to undergo a psychological test and at least 144 hours of training before taking a weapon into a school.
The results of which would also require independent approval by law enforcement.
According to The Hill, the prospect of arming teachers has divided Republicans and Democrats in Tallahassee and Washington since the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead.
Republicans have said that having trained, armed teachers could prevent similar shootings in the future, while Democrats have pushed for more gun control measures.
“I must err on the side of saving a kid,” state Sen. Ed Hooper (R) told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Democrats have said having more guns on campuses will not make them safer and that schools should focus their resources on other priorities, such as guidance counselors and mental health services.
“What we are telling our teachers is if you want protection for you and your children then you do it yourself,” said state Sen. Bill Montford (D).
Very strong improvement and strengthening of background checks will be fully backed by White House. Legislation moving forward. Bump Stocks will soon be out. Highly trained expert teachers will be allowed to conceal carry, subject to State Law. Armed guards OK, deterrent!.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2018
....If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
The legislation includes other school safety provisions, including standardizing a risk assessment process for at-risk students and proposing new guidelines on school-based mental health.
The legislation is the product of a state commission that was formed in the Parkland shooting’s aftermath and charged with finding ways to prevent similar attacks moving forward.