Florida governor signs bill allowing more teachers to carry guns in schools

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs School Safety Bill, Which Includes Arming Teachers
Gov. DeSantis signs bill to arm more teachers in Florida

10 May, 2019

With little fanfare, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday that allows teachers to be armed in classrooms of public schools.

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.

The Palm Beach County School Board passed a resolution in April 2018 that the school district would not allow teachers to be armed.

DeSantis did not make a public statement after the private bill signing Wednesday, but over the weekend expressed optimism about what the bill could do for school safety. Most of the commission recommendations take effect immediately, while expansion of a "guardian" program takes effect October 1. "I think we're going to be safer". They're also required to obtain authorization from the school board, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Under a previous law, passed immediately after the February 2018 Parkland shooting, only teachers who had another role at school, such as sports coach, were eligible to carry weapons on campus.

As it stands, Florida law already requires schools to have at least one armed person on site, which is often a school law enforcement officer.

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Many teachers in Florida seem willing and eager to arm themselves.

The bill faced stiff opposition from Democrats and teacher unions, as Fox News notes.

Twenty-five of Florida's 67 school districts take part in the program, including Broward County, where Parkland is located.

The measure also contains a number of other school safety measures, such as wider disclosure of certain student mental health records and mental screening of troubled students.

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