Arming teachers brings contentious debate in Florida Senate

Apr 18, 2019 by

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Democrats failed to strip language out of a Florida Senate school safety bill that would expand a law allowing some teachers to carry guns in school. They argued Wednesday that more guns in school could make them more dangerous.

Senators spent nearly two hours debating proposed amendments to a wide-ranging bill that would revise a law passed last year after 17 people were killed at a Parkland High School. The bill seeks to act on several recommendations of a commission formed to study the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the most contentious of which could allow more teachers to be armed.

A law enacted last year allows some classroom teachers to volunteer to carry weapons after they undergo training and psychological evaluations in districts that adopt the “guardian program.” But those teachers also have to have a role outside the classroom, such as an athletic coach. The bill being considered would allow any teacher to participate, and that frightens Democrats.

Democratic Sen. Oscar Braynon said there were 34 confrontations between students and teachers last year in Miami-Dade County, where he lives.

“Do we think it benefits those confrontations if we insert a firearm?” Braynon asked. “That happened 34 times. How many school shootings have we had in the past 200 years? One.”

Braynon suggested that if teachers shoot students and claim self-defense, they’d likely be acquitted by juries. It was a reference to Florida’s “stand your ground” law that allows the use of deadly force if someone feels threatened.

continue: Arming teachers brings contentious debate in Florida Senate | WTOP

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