A measure that would allow school employees and volunteers to carry guns on campus was approved by a House panel Wednesday as lawmakers continue to discuss the meeting place between firearms and education.
The legislation (HB 19) received the backing of the House K-12 Subcommittee on a bipartisan, 10-1 vote. But one lawmaker who supported the bill voiced concern about the measure.
Under the bill, sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, school superintendents could allow designated people to carry weapons on campus. Those people could be current or former law enforcement officers or current or former members of the military. They would have to pass background checks, take school-safety courses and have concealed-weapons licenses.
Republicans highlighted the fact that the ultimate choice on allowing weapons at schools would lie with local officials. Supporters contend that allowing designated people to carry guns on campus could improve school safety.
“It’s completely up to the district and the superintendent whether they want to do it and how they want to implement it in working with their local law enforcement agencies,” Steube said.
“What is a solution in Miami-Dade may not be a solution in Nassau County, and vice versa,” said Rep. Janet Adkins, a Fernandina Beach Republican who chairs the subcommittee.
But Rep. Joe Geller of Aventura, the top Democrat on the committee, said he believed the state should trust law-enforcement agencies to handle school safety.
“I don’t think an ‘American Sniper’ approach is the way to protect our kids,” said Geller, the lone vote against the bill.
At least one Democrat who supported the measure was also reluctant. Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando, said he worried that some volunteers who aren’t law-enforcement officers “may not have the temperament, the self-control or the discipline to properly deal with situations” that come up at schools.
Bills to allow guns in public schools have been boosted in the House following the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Conn., where more than two dozen people died. In 2013, a similar bill passed two committees but failed to get a vote on the floor; last year, legislation resembling Steube’s was approved by the full House.
But the Senate has been more hesitant about the idea. A similar measure never got a hearing 2013 and passed just one of its four committees last year. The Senate companion to Steube’s bill (SB 180) hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing this year.
Meanwhile, proposals that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on college and university campuses have been moving on both sides of the Capitol.
–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida
I think it’s ok. When students come to school with guns why not teachers?/
Sure, then they can all break in to a dance routine like the Sharks and the Jets!
I’m so glad the didn’t allow the janitors to carry in my day. I wouldn’t have made it out of Jr. High.
Limiting being armed for self defense to law enforcement, retired law enforcement former members of the military is UNCONSTITUTIONAL under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.
This totally deprives the overwhelming majority of people of their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.
I agree! If they took all my guns I would not be able to shoot all the annoying people WHO TYPE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS!
Obama 2015 says
As a liberal I am ok with this law.
Most schools have a security guard team so allowing those who have passed background checks, taken school-safety courses and have concealed-weapons licenses is fine. It may not be needed for lower grades as much as High School but having this law is a good idea since weapons are so easy to obtain.
As a parent, I want a trained firearm owner on campus for protection and not a cowboy that learned how to shoot from their daddy and took a weekend course at a gun show 5 years ago. Just like I want a teacher that has a degree in math to teach my kids about math and not someone that did match 5 years ago.
Also give it a break with your rights. You can’t walk into a jail, airport, courtroom, post office or sporting event with your firearm without being arrested why should you be able to go to a PTA meeting with your gun. If you have to take your gun everywhere because you’re too paranoid do us all a favor and stay home. Odds are we will be safer.
“You can’t walk into a blah, blah, blah”…just because there’s a “law” doesn’t mean people obey it. It hasn’t stopped those people intent to do ill will from shooting innocent, unarmed people.
This is a no brainer.
Based on the amount of laws and regs leftist approve…we’ll all be criminals of some sort.
Why is there not at least a requirement for a full psychological evaluation before allowing these “volunteers” to carry weapons on campus? As the gun folks are fond of saying: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people”. Of course, those people don’t commit mass strangulations…Go figure.