The Florida state Senate voted on Tuesday to allow teachers to carry firearms at school if permitted by local school boards.
Senate Bill (SB) 70 would also mandate that teachers who want to carry their weapon on school grounds would have to undergo at least 144 hours of training and a psychological exam. The bill passed the Senate mostly along party lines, with most Republicans voting in favor and most Democrats voting against. (RELATED: Parkland Families File More Than 20 Lawsuits Against Police And School District)
The Sunshine State became ground zero for gun rights debates in 2018 after 17 students were killed at Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida.
The tragedy opened up intense debate on gun rights in the United States, with many of student victims and witness of the Parkland attack arguing for increased gun control measures and prominent political figures such as incumbent Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promising to prioritize school safety. (RELATED: There Are Way Fewer School Shootings Than The Government Says)
While DeSantis has not weighed in on SB 70, he has suggested in the past that he is open to allowing trained teachers to carry firearms.
“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,” DeSantis said earlier this year, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
He continued, “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.”