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Florida Teachers To Carry Guns In The Classroom After 144-hour Training Course

Florida Teachers To Carry Guns In The Classroom After 144-hour Training Course

Yesterday, Florida’s House of Representatives voted 65 to 47 to pass the bill after hours of debate over two days in which the Republican majority thwarted Democratic efforts to amend, stall or kill the measure.  Florida’s Senate approved it 22 to 17 last week. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law.

“In anticipation of the law being passed, school employees in a whopping 40 of Florida’s 67 counties are already pre-enrolled or plan to take part in the 144-hour course” a spokesman for the Speaker of the House said.

Florida’s gun-control advocates had made stopping the proposal a top priority, among them Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense, which is funded by billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Teachers in Florida will be allowed to carry guns in the classroom after legislators passed a bill in response to the Parkland shooting. School districts across the state can now take part in a voluntary Guardian program which will arm teachers who pass a 144-hour training course. The idea was first floated after a former student armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, killing 17 people and wounding 17 others.

President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association then argued an armed teacher could provide the best defense against a shooter bent on mass murder. Backers of arming classroom teachers revived the issue this year, arguing that school shootings often erupt too quickly for law enforcement to respond.  Opponents questioned whether the solution to gun violence should be the presence of even more guns and warned of the danger of a teacher misfiring during a crisis or police mistaking an armed teacher for the assailant.

The idea of arming teachers was first suggested after a former student armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, killing 17 people and wounding 17 others.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks during a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where where 17 people were killed Wednesday. (Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)