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Florida Senate approves bill to arm school teachers

The bill is expected to easily pass the Florida House and be signed by the governor

JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images

The Florida state Senate has passed a bill that would allow for school teachers to be armed in classrooms.

Here's what we know

This bill, SB 7030, was put forward after the deadly massacre in February 2018 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Teachers would still have to volunteer and be trained in order to carry weapons on school property. This bill would not authorize teachers to carry guns to school without going through the training process.

The bill passed the Senate along roughly party lines by a vote of 22-17, with only one Republican, Sen. Anitere Flores (Miami), breaking ranks to vote against it.

Since the Florida state House is controlled by Republicans and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken in support of it, it is expected to face no further obstacles in becoming law.

Supporters of the bill pointed to how long it took for police to arrive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, while opponents argued for increased non-teacher security on campus.

"We're telling teachers if you want protection for you and your children, you do it yourself," Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) said, according to the Herald Tribune.

But for Republican Sen. Ed Hooper (Clearwater), the benefits far outweighed the negatives.

"I wish we had a law enforcement officer on every floor of every school. We do not and we cannot," Hooper said. "I must err on the side of saving a kid."

What else?

Florida already approved school safety "guardians," average citizens trained as security guards, last year in 25 counties.

However, full-time teachers are banned from signing up for this program. Even with this program in place, some districts have failed to have at least one armed "safe-school officer" in each school, as required by Florida law.

One last thing…
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