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NRA-Backed Measure to Let Armed Vets and Ex-Cops In Schools Triggers Controversy

| March 11, 2014

guns schools florida

Except, of course, in Florida. (Dunstin Stacey)

Military veterans or retired law-enforcement officers with concealed weapons permits and special training could be designated to bring guns into elementary, middle and high schools under a proposal moving through the Florida Legislature.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee approved the controversial proposal (SB 968) by a 5-2 vote on Monday over the objections of the Florida School Boards Association and members of the public, many of whom had participated in a march earlier in the day led by civil-rights leader Al Sharpton. The group was protesting the state’s “stand your ground” law. Florida parent groups and the state teachers’ union also oppose the measure.

The measure is similar to one pushed by the National Rifle Association in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 students and six school staff.


Under the bill, principals and school superintendents could appoint staff members or volunteers who are military veterans with honorable discharges, active military or retired law enforcement officials as gun-toting “designees.” They would be required to carry concealed weapons with them at all times on school property. The designees would have to undergo 40 hours of school-safety training and an additional 12 hours of special training annually, comprised of eight hours of active shooter training and four hours of firearm-proficiency training.

The measure is intended to prevent another Sandy Hook or Columbine in Florida and would be optional, said bill sponsor Alan Hays, R-Umatilla.

“Part of our tactics here is to not let those perpetrators of evil, for them to think there’s no weapons at a school so I can go in there and not have any resistance. They don’t know that there are going to be weapons there but neither do they know that there are not,” Hays said.

But Florida School Boards Association Executive Director Wayne Blanton said that many schools already have school resource officers, who are active law-enforcement officers, and that the goal is to have such an officer in each school.

“Uniformed, trained, police officers in every school… That’s what we really need,” Blanton said. “We do not need teachers, or in this case, volunteers, in our schools, carrying weapons.”

The proposal now leaves decisions about whether to have an armed “designee” up to school principals. Hays said he would amend the measure to allow school boards to decide whether they want such a program, instead of leaving it up to principals.

–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “NRA-Backed Measure to Let Armed Vets and Ex-Cops In Schools Triggers Controversy”

  1. Nancy Mann says:

    I am so glad my youngest child graduates in May. I will no longer have to deal with such ridiculous issues.

    • I think this is a great idea. The Children of Palm Coast will be much safer. Contrary to what Wayne Blanton said, we don’t need another layer of bureaucracy in the form of more employees when we have many qualified people willing to do this and protect our children. He most likely is just complaining because he would have no control over the volunteers. What would he like another TSA where the “Union” members could sleep off a bad night in the Janitor’s closet and make top pay and demand a giant pension paid for by the people of Palm Coast? Bet he does.

  2. truth monitor says:

    The criteria and mental exams for vets to be armed at schools better be fool proof. I am old school in discipline and fought in Viet Nam as an airborne infantry grunt. If I were ever able to qualify as an volunteer most of the unruly,filthy mouth punks in school would have a very short life span. The only winners in this ignorant idea are gun makers, NRA and the Legislative NRA stooges.

  3. Really? says:

    i am concerned that there does not exist a law enforcement officer or sheepdog in every elementary school. because if you think the wolf doesn’t exist here in palm coast, you truly are sheep-baaaaah.

    sheep, sheepdogs and wolves, it’s time to wake up.

  4. Teddy says:

    This is a brilliant idea! We can then Backer Act everyone that applies. And we don’t even have to go looking for them because they come to us. Very efficient.

  5. A.S.F. says:

    Just recently, a story made the news about how a “firearms expert” shot someone while demonstrating gun safety at a gun show. By all means, let’s fill our school hallways with weapons and armed individuals with 52 hours of “specialized training”…That should do the trick!

  6. Steve Smith says:

    Just because a person is a veteran does not automaticaly make him/her a model citizen. There are many thousands of veterans who were drafted against their will or joined to escape prosecution. No one veterens or law enforcement personnell should be given a blanket dispensation regarding firearms. they should be subject to the same rules as everyone else. After all a look into our jails will show a number of honorably discharged veterans and ex law enforcement officers who ended their carrers without issue and are now serving time.

  7. Diana L says:

    OMGosh, this gun mentality is over the edge. Yes, this is just an ALEC written law proposed to benefit the NRA and gun manufacturers.

  8. ryan says:

    Coming from Virginia Beach, all of our schools had one or two police officers in school in case a shooter or some other violent psycho tried to hurt somebody. It is sad that no one discusses the fact that the Sand Hook shooter’s mother showed him how to load and reload both a handgun and assault rifle, knowing that he was evil and twisted. There should be an accomplice to murder charge for anyone who teaches someone they know has violence issues how to use firearms.

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