Guns in schools bill gets through committee
(miamiherald.com) By BRUCE SCHREINER Associated Press TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Efforts to arm Florida teachers and other school employees to fight back against any schoolhouse attacks cleared another hurdle Tuesday in the state Legislature, overcoming objections from school groups that were vocal in their complaints. The measure (HB 1097) was advanced by the House Judiciary Committee on an 11-7 vote as its supporters try to get it to the full House in the closing weeks of the 60-day legislative session. Democrats voting against the bill were joined by Rep. Ray Pilon, a Sarasota Republican and retired law enforcement officer.
"I think before we start arming our teachers, and putting those in responsibility (of our children) in danger of perhaps being shot as well, that we need to debate it much more," Pilon said after the committee hearing.
The proposal would give public and private school principals the option to designate one or several school employees to carry concealed weapons on campus at all times. They would be required to complete the same training that's required of security guards in addition to the statewide firearms training. Principals could also decline the concealed weapons option altogether.
Rep. Greg Steube, the bill's lead sponsor, said arming teachers and other employees would give schools "a fighting chance" against intruders.
"At least allow people to have the opportunity to defend themselves," he said. "Because right now they can't."
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