FL Senate OKs Plan to Arm Teachers, Rejects Assault-Weapons Ban
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Senate agreed to advance a bill that backers say would increase school safety and restrict gun purchases during a rare Saturday session. Lawmakers briefly accepted – and then rejected – a measure banning the sale of AR-15 assault rifles, the type of weapon used in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
After hours of intense debate, the Florida Senate rejected an assault-weapons ban. Then they moved forward with a voluntary plan to arm teachers in schools. In a rare Saturday session, senators briefly approved – then swiftly rejected – an amendment to Senate Bill 7026 that would’ve banned the sale of AR-15 rifles. This is the type of rifle used in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The Senate rejected nearly four dozen Democratic amendments to the bill that was introduced by conservative Republicans. The Senate is expected to approve it Monday. Then, it will be sent to the House. Legislators hope to approve it in time to reach the governor’s desk before the session ends on March 9th.
The so-called “school marshal program” would allow school districts to work with county law enforcement to deputize trained school personnel to carry concealed weapons during school hours. Bradenton Republican Bill Galvano, who introduced the Senate’s updated version of the bill, said the only thing he would’ve like to change about that provision is the name. But he says the measure gives others a chance to have a say.
Governor Rick Scott has said he opposes arming teachers, and the program is opposed by most of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators. That group has said it fears black students could face disproportionate discrimination by school officials carrying firearms.
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It’s been the NRA’s official position since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The next year, the NRA released the National School Shield plan, a 225-page report calling for armed guards in every school. As an alternative to save money, the report recommended that schools arm teachers and other staff.
Following Parkland, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said at a CNN event that “150 schools across the country have implemented” the recommendations of the plan.
It doesn’t appear that the NRA is training teachers to use guns though. Instead, the organization offered training to law enforcement and school officials on safety measures like lockdown procedures, evacuation plans, and adding lights to parking lots. (The NRA did not respond to requests for comment.)
(source-The Daily Beast)