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Florida governor signs bill allowing more armed teachers

Posted in World

Published on May 10, 2019 with No Comments

 

More Florida teachers will be eligible to carry guns in the classroom under a bill Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed that immediately implements recommendations from a commission formed after the Parkland high school mass shooting.

DeSantis signed the bill in private and didn’t issue a statement afterward. But he previously made it clear he supports the changes made to the law enacted after a rifle-toting former student walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people in February 2018.

“We did a lot for public safety,” DeSantis said .”The Marjory Stoneman Douglas bill, people had disagreements on, but ultimately I think we’re going to be safer.”

The bill was one of the most contentious of the legislative session. It expands the “guardian” program that allows school districts to approve school employees and teachers with a role outside the classroom, such as a coach, to carry guns. School districts have to approve and teachers have to volunteer. They then go through police-like training with a sheriff’s office and undergo a psychiatric evaluation and a background check.

The new law expands the program to make all teachers eligible regardless of whether they have a non-classroom role. Democrats spent hours arguing against the bill, saying it could lead to accidental shootings, or that a teacher could panic and fire during a confrontation with students. Republicans emphasized that the program is voluntary, and that law enforcement in some rural districts could be 15 minutes or more away from a school if a shooter attacks.

 

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