Florida lawmakers pass bill authorizing teachers to carry firearms

by Paul Garilao, ABS-CBN News

PENSACOLA, FL — Florida House of Representatives passed a new bill authorizing teachers to carry guns on campus grounds.

Last year, lawmakers were prompted to form a school guardian program in the wake of the shooting massacre at a parkland high school that left 17 dead.

Under the current law, the guardian program is only limited to employees and volunteer civilians to receive weapons trainings and carry guns.

But the 2019 bill would alter the guardian law to allow teachers to take part in defending their students, yet this requires authorization from school boards.

If passed, individual school boards will still vote on whether to implement the change.

About 25 of Florida’s school districts have already expressed interested in the guardian program. Some still have reservations on the proposal.

Meanwhile, Filipino Floridians share mixed reactions.

“…Having teachers with the possession of guns will help protect other children who might get hurt and at the same time, immediate rescue is available.”

Under the guardian program bill, participating teachers will undergo 144 hours of instruction, including target practice. They will also be required to undergo background checks, drug testing, and psychological evaluation.

“So in school, the school board should have a stricter process of obtaining personal weapon in school premises.”

Carl shares the same opinion with his mother and believes his teachers are the last line of defense in a learning environment.

“If it is really necessary, then they can carry the guns because there are a lot of shootings going around.”

“Along with this comes a lot of mental stress and we need to make sure the gun stays to those who are well trusted and those well prepared.”

While there is still heated debate to arming the teachers, Florida governor Ron de Santis is yet to approve and turn the guardian bill into law.

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