MIAMI (AP) – Public and private school principals could designate teachers and other school employees who would carry concealed weapons on campus at all times in an effort to make schools safer, under legislation that won approval Wednesday from a Florida House committee.
It gives principals the option to designate one or several school employees to carry concealed weapons. The designee would be required to complete the same training that bank and courthouse security guards complete in addition to the statewide firearms training. Principals could also decline the concealed weapons option altogether.
Proponents of the bill argued that since the state can’t afford to put a school resource officer on every campus, the gun legislation is a commonsense alternative.
“I want my children safe and in our overwhelming desire to protect our children with gun free zones we have inadvertently made them the ideal sterile target for a madman and the unwillingness of people to confront that reality is unacceptable,” said the bill’s co-sponsor Rep. Dennis Baxley.
But several lawmakers expressed reservations about placing more guns on school campuses.
The bill would allow no one to carry a gun on campus, except the principal’s designee who has completed the proper training. That person would be required to carry the firearm on them at all times. The principal will determine whether to tell parents who that person is. Several lawmakers expressed concern that local school boards should not be kept in the dark about whether schools in their districts are armed.
Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Greg Steube cited a 2002 Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education study that said most school shootings were stopped by someone other than law enforcement and most incidents lasted 15 minutes or less.
Eight other states allow concealed firearms on school campuses, Steube said.
Steube said he has received numerous phone calls and emails in support of the bill from principals in rural school districts whose schools are 30 to 45 minutes away from a law enforcement response.
The Florida School Boards Association opposes the bill, saying its members want more funds to hire school resource officers in every school and are worried about liability issues.
“You’re going to send the wrong message to these students … so they go back into the community and say, ‘Hey it’s OK, coach is carrying a gun, principal is carrying a gun, teacher is carrying a gun, why can’t I carry a gun, everybody’s carrying a gun,” said Executive Director Wayne Blanton.
But Republican Rep. Dave Hood Jr. argued it’s more of a liability not to arm school personnel and continue to put innocent children at risk for school violence.
Several lawmakers, including Reps. Hood, Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed and Richard Stark, said the bill will have a hard time moving forward unless it has the support of the school boards.
Joy Frank, general counsel, of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, also spoke against the bill.
“I really do not want (my grandkids) to be in a school where someone, no matter how well trained, is carrying a weapon,” she said.
But Rep. Ronald Renuart argued parents worried about having guns in the schools “are the same parents that take their children into banks, shopping malls where there’s often somebody less trained and less screened to carry that weapon.”
Stark warned against a knee jerk reaction after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead in Newton, Connecticut last year.
“Sometimes you have to step back a little bit before you make a decision of this magnitude,” the Democrat from Weston said. “Guns are very powerful. It’s not BB guns.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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