Agriculture commissioner: School response times must improve

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida's agriculture commissioner weighed in on the statewide response to the Parkland school shooting, saying Gov. Rick Scott's school safety proposal will make a difference.

Adam Putnam visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and spoke with some of the students.

LIST: Ways Gov. Scott wants to keep Florida kids safe | 
ACTION PLAN: Bullet points of Gov. Scott's plan

Putnam, who oversees concealed carry weapons licenses, said he believes lawmakers are searching for solutions and believes the Legislature will bring change.

He said one thing that needs to improve is response time.

"The response time is usually double that of the shooting," Putnam said. "We all agree that our students and teachers deserve to go to work every day in a safe learning environment, and what we've learned is that there are a lot of breakdowns in the system.

"The monster who shot up that school in Parkland was a walking red flag," Putnam said, referring to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

Putnam said changes need to be made to the state's Baker Act laws and more needs to be done to make sure law enforcement agencies are communicating about potential red flags.

RELATED: Jacksonville-area district leaders don't want to see teachers armed

Putnam also defended his heritage as a gun owner and a member of the National Rifle Association. 

"I grew up hunting with my brothers and with my father, and understanding very clearly how to handle that firearm safely. I instilled those lessons in my children," he said. "And I am a member of the NRA, and that does not make us akin to someone who would kill 17 teachers and students in a Parkland high school, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. And so I am tired of that comparison. It could not be more wrong."
Putnam said he believes that if more families educated children about the responsibility of owning firearms and how to safely use them, society would be safer.

He said that’s a much better way to go than having people learn lessons about firearms from a violent video game.

About the Authors: