Florida sheriff: The Parkland massacre could have been avoided if someone else had a gun

Florida sheriff: The Parkland massacre could have been avoided if someone else had a gun
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who leads the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, speaks to the media June 7 during their meeting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Gualtieri told a New York Times reporter on Thursday that someone with a gun could have "mitigated" the shooting. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Florida sheriff, in charge of a state commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, said that someone else at the school with a gun could have prevented some of the deaths.

What did the sheriff say?

On Thursday, New York Times Miami bureau chief Patricia Mazzei tweeted that Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri had said that someone with a gun on the campus of the school could have taken advantage of killer Nikolas Cruz needing to reload his gun to “mitigate” the severity of the massacre.


Gualtieri made the comments during a meeting of members of the safety commission.

While some advocates have argued that the solution to this problem could be arming school teachers, Gualtieri seems to have been talking about arming the security guards themselves.

While there were eight security guards at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, only one of them was armed. The high school enrolled roughly 3,100 students during the 2015-16 school year, in a campus that included 13 buildings on 45 acres. This single armed guard was later fired and branded as a disgrace for failing to take action to stop Cruz. Two additional, unarmed guards were also fired for hiding and not enacting the high school’s lockdown protocol.

“One armed law enforcement officer on a campus of 2,300 kids … is ‘feel-good,’” Gualtieri said, according to TCPalm.com. “It barely checks the box. And that is not effective.”

Gualtieri noted that police were not even dispatched until two minutes after Cruz was in the building.

At the same meeting, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement gave a presentation that showed that school employees were the first responders in 33 percent of all campus shootings.

What else?

Other school districts in Florida have already been increasing the number of armed guards on campus. At least 25 of Florida’s 67 school districts have approved plans to hire trained guards from the Guardians or similar programs. These programs train average citizens who agree to guard schools for a fraction of the price of traditional security guards.

Some counties are paying off-duty deputies to guard their schools. However, at least 40 of Florida’s counties have opted against arming any additional staffers beyond these security guards and deputies.