TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — More Florida classroom teachers could carry guns in school under a bill passed Wednesday by state lawmakers, the latest response to last year’s mass shooting at a Parkland high school.
The Republican-led House voted 65-47 on Wednesday to send the bill to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it. The measure expands an existing school “guardian” program to allow any teacher to volunteer to carry a weapon if their local school district approves.
“It allows the good guys to stop the bad. The bad guys will never know when the good guys are there to shoot back,” said Republican Rep. Chuck Brannan of Lake City, a retired law enforcement officer. “The guardian is the last line of defense. He or she will be there when a police officer is not.”
Teachers who want to carry guns in districts that choose to join the program would have to undergo police-style training, psychiatric evaluation and drug screening. Under a law passed last year immediately after the Parkland shooting, only teachers who also have another role, such as sports coach, are eligible to carry weapons on campus.