Facing anguished relatives and classmates of shooting victims, a panel of Florida legislators took the unprecedented step Tuesday of creating a new statewide program to put armed teachers in classrooms — over the vocal opposition of Parkland residents.
Voting along party lines, the House Appropriations Committee approved training teachers to carry guns in class under the direction of local law enforcement — if superintendents and school boards approve.
“The last line of defense,” said Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, referring to teachers with guns.
The $67 million “school marshal” program is the most controversial aspect of a House bill that imposes a three-day waiting period for gun purchases, raises the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and gives police more power to seize guns from people who threaten themselves or others. Most of the money for the program would be spent on training. Oliva said he didn’t know if teachers would be provided guns or would have to buy them, but it does provide a one-time $500 stipend for those who volunteer to have a gun.
The proposals still need the approvals of the full House and Senate plus the signature of Gov. Rick Scott to be enacted.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.