Well, the debate is over. The voting is done. And the bill has been signed into law. Florida will now permit armed teachers in the classroom. It’s a win for gun rights advocates. Florida is still reeling from the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland from last year, where shooter Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people. It’s the reality we live in, folks. Since we’re not going to repeal the Second Amendment or enact a policy of confiscation, everything must be on the table to keep schools safe. Also, we cannot forget that America is not a shooting gallery. Schools have never been safer. With proper training, a policy of arming teachers isn’t an extreme policy. Having armed guards staffed by former military veterans or the local police are also a fine alternative.
The fact of the matter is that Parkland was avoidable. The list of the times local, state, and federal authorities failed to act on Cruz, who was deeply disturbed, is lengthy and maddening. If the government had done its job, there is no doubt he would not have been able to purchase the AR-15 rifle he used to commit the shooting.
Well, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the legislation into law. On October 1, armed teachers goes into effect, with participation based on approval by the various school boards (via Tampa Bay Times):
[T]he 54-page Senate Bill 7030 sparked days of debate and was one of the most contentious bills of the 2019 legislative session, DeSantis drew as little attention as possible in making it law, holding no news conference or ceremony. Instead, his office blasted a late afternoon, two-paragraph email stating that he signed it at some point Wednesday, the same day that he had received it from the Legislature.
The law goes into effect Oct. 1.
For teachers and other staff to be armed, school districts must opt-in to the so-called “Guardian program,” which allows teachers and other staff to volunteer to carry a gun on campus after getting screened and trained by a sheriff’s office. That program was passed by state lawmakers last year in response to the Feb. 14 Parkland massacre, but it didn’t allow teachers who “exclusively perform classroom duties” to carry guns, partly on the urging of former Gov. Rick Scott.
There has to be more on mental health, but this is a good start.