On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, the Florida Senate passed Senate Bill 7030 which would allow teachers to carry firearms based on local school board approval.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that SB 7030 requires teachers who want to carry their firearms at school take at least 144 hours of training and pass a psychological exam. The bill passed on mostly partisan lines. Republicans largely voted in favor of the bill, while most Democrats voted nay.
Since the Parkland shooting of 2018, Florida has become a battleground state for gun policy.
Many students activists such as David Hogg have come out in favor of tougher gun control, while Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has put an emphasis on school safety.
So far, DeSantis has not made a public statement on SB 7030. However, DeSantis has hinted in the past that he is receptive to allowing trained teachers to carry firearms.
DeSantis told the Pensacola News Journal earlier this year:
In terms of the arming of personnel, what I’ve said is, if you’re somebody who is working at a school and you are somebody who is trained and has the ability to do it, then you shouldn’t be precluded, if you carrying a concealed firearm could potentially deter people from viewing that as a thing.
The Governor also said, “But what I would not do is say, ‘Oh, Miss Jones, you want to teach English? Well, do you have a Glock?’ No. I mean, we should not force anybody to do that.”
When asked to comment about the passage of SB 7030, Florida Gun Rights Executive Director DJ Parten stated that it was a step in the right direction:
A year after lawmakers passed sweeping gun control in a knee-jerk reaction to Parkland, I’m glad they are finally stepping up to defend our children, and the only way to do that is to end the “gun free” zones that created the situation in the beginning. Overall, Florida Gun Rights’ priority is still repealing the 2018 gun control and passing solid Constitutional Carry legislation, but this bill is a step in the right direction.
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