Published On: Wed, Jul 31st, 2019

Education or Enforcement? Florida’s Changing Gun Laws

Boca Raton, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill in early May allowing school teachers to voluntarily carry guns in classrooms, upon the approval of the school district and superintendent.

The bill is an expansion of the guardian program implemented months after the Parkland massacre, which allows local sheriffs to train and arm non-instructional school employees.

Even so, Florida requires at least one-armed school law enforcement officer on a school campus. Teachers who choose to carry a gun must first complete 144 hours of training and a psychological evaluation.

Before arriving at Gov. DeSantis’ desk, the Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives voted

65-47 to pass the bill and Florida’s Senate approved the bill 22-17.

As it stands only 25 out of 67 school districts approve the legislation. Broward County, where Stoneman

Douglas is located, rejected the expansion.

The law also includes gun restrictive measures to raise the rifle purchasing age from 18 to 21 as well as a three-day period for all gun purchases. The legislation also includes a mental screening of concerned students and reporting of student discipline incidents.

Fedrick Ingram, President of the Florida Education Association, believes that Florida lawmakers have not spent enough time discussing mental health in schools, or the unintended consequences of guns.

“We should be talking about why our young people are using this outlet, as a means to solve a problem that they’re having,” said Ingram.

He emphasized that schools should implement policies that stop an active shooter situation before it becomes a possibility. He suggests identification badges, sign-in sheets, and soft background checks as safety protocols.

By Israel Fontoura

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