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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Fla. House passes bill allowing teachers and others to carry guns on school grounds

A parent, teacher or other public school employee could volunteer to carry a gun on campus as a “school safety designee” under a bill approved by the Florida House on Monday.

The bill (HB 753) permits superintendents, after school board approval, to appoint one or more trained individuals to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds.

The idea is to prevent on-campus shootings and other violent incidents, especially at schools that don’t have law enforcement on campus. The bill passed 71-44.

“The only thing that stops an active shooter is someone else who is armed,” said Rep. Doc Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach.

Opponents include Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach, who namechecked the loveable but bumbling deputy played by Don Knotts in the 1960s’ “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“No offense, but I just don’t want Barney Fife to get his one bullet out and try to protect our children,” Taylor said.

He said arming school staff members might give them a “false sense of security,” suggesting they need walkie-talkies instead.

Added Rep. Mark Danish, D-Tampa: “If we’re going to do the right thing, we need professionals to do it. If we need to do this, and we might, let’s spend the money.”

The bill now goes to the Senate, where a companion bill (SB 968) has been held in committee since mid-March.