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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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