Fla. proposal allowing gun-toting teachers at school to return?

By Matt Galka, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Aug 08 2014 04:46:50 PM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

It's almost time to go back to school for students and parents. School safety is always on everyone's mind and a controversial safety bill will be coming back this legislative session.

A proposal that would allow teachers to carry guns on school grounds will be coming back in 2015.

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, said the proposal came from the Sandy Hook tragedy, and points to other shootings as the reason it needs to be discussed again.

"There's been multiple shootings all across the country on school grounds, and one of the reasons is when individuals like this that have mental illness, they're going to a place where they know nobody else is armed," said Steube.

The bill has died in the Senate each of the past two years, but lawmakers in that chamber might be coming around.

Democratic state Sen. Chris Smith has led the charge to roll back gun laws in Florida. Even he said the proposal has merit.

"That was a bill that I've had problems with being from an urban county," said Smith. "I always thought, 'There's a problem at school, cops can get there quick.' But when talking to some of my friends from the rural community, it really changed my mind."

Smith said he was still on the fence about teachers carrying a gun, but one of the original authors of Florida's "stand your ground" law said the idea shouldn't be written off just yet.

"I think it's important for us not to prejudge and say, 'Hey, guns being carried by administrators or teachers is out of the question.' I think it's something that will have to be debated," said Sen. David Simmons.

One tweak the bill's sponsor said he'd look into is a state trust fund to be used just for school resource officers.

Already, 18 states allow an adult to carry a gun on school campuses with special permission. More than 30 have proposed similar legislation.

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