Teacher-gun proposal gains traction at Fla. Capitol

Proposal would allow school administrators to designate teacher to carry gun around school

Author: Matt Galka, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Mar 10 2014 04:44:28 PM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

A proposal that would allow school administrators to designate a teacher to carry a gun around school had its first hearing Monday at the Capitol. However, there are school officials saying more guns aren't the answer.

Strict federal and state laws ban guns by anyone who is not a cop in school zones, but the proposal to allow principals to pick a teacher or staff member to carry a gun on campus is gaining traction at the Capitol.

"We've absolutely made students a target. We didn't plan on it that way, but that's the way it's turned out," said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala.

The hope is that arming a teacher could prevent a tragedy like Sandy Hook from happening in Florida.

"We have a lot of people -- National Guardsmen and Women, people that are in school administration and school instruction that are perfectly equipped if we can empower them," said Baxley.

The selected gun carrier would have to meet training requirements. The candidates would be former members of the military, police force or anyone with a concealed weapons permit.

The bill isn't getting any support from the Florida School Board Association.

"It allows young people to say, 'If my teacher has a gun or my coach has a gun, why can't I carry a gun?' That is the wrong message for impressionable young students," said Wayne Blanton, of the Florida School Board Association.

A bill from Baxley, which touts common sense punishment for kids who make guns out of Pop Tarts, moved through the Capitol last week. Blanton said putting a real gun and not a pastry around kids could lead to more problems.

RELATED: Lawmakers discuss 'Pop Tart Law'

"I think that there would be more instances of things that would happen and could go wrong when more people have guns on campus," said Blanton.

Blanton's solution is to put a school resource officer in every school in Florida.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement estimates that it would cost more than $2 million to train all designated school employees in the state on all three training courses.