Bill Allowing Armed School Administrators Gains Ground in Florida

Dan Joseph
By Dan Joseph | March 13, 2014 | 10:29 AM EDT

A House Education Subcommittee in the Florida House of Representatives has approved a bill that would allow schools to have at least one school administrator carrying a firearm during school hours. The bill won similar approval by a Florida Senate panel earlier this week.

Presently only school law enforcement officials are permitted to carry weapons on school property.  But HB 753 would change that.  Under the proposed law, employees who are active duty or retired military or retired law enforcement as well as those who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon in the state, will legally be permitted

The bill is a response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting and according to one lawmaker who supports the bill it is intended to provide "one more gun for the good guys."

Despite having bipartisan support in the legislature, some Florida school boards have come out in opposition to the law. Both Miami-Dade County School Board and the Palm Beach County School Board are opposing the bill saying that arming administrators would not make schools any safer than they currently are.

"The School District of Palm Beach County believe that only trained law enforcement professionals should be carrying a weapon on school property," said a spokeswoman for the school board. "Multiple factors must be taken into consideration during a crises situation.  For this reason, schools have a Crisis Team and protocols in place to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff."

However, Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) says that the bill will add needed protection in schools that have been left virtually defenseless by becoming "gun-free zones."

"They don't even have a water pistol in which to charge the gates of confront this monster," said Baxley.  " I think it's time to embrace this.  Firearms save people's lives.  That's why policemen carry them."