Fla. Gov. Rick Scott Announces $500M School Safety Plan, But No Gun Ban

By Susan Jones | February 23, 2018 | 12:48 PM EST

Gov. Rick Scott announces major changes aimed at improving school safety. (Screen grab/YouTube)

(CNSNews.com) - Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Friday announced a "major action plan" to prevent mass shootings like the one in Parkland. He said he will work "aggressively" to get it through the state legislature in the next two weeks.

"Unfortunately, none of the plans I’m announcing today will bring any of them back, but it’s important to remember them. The seventeen lives that were cut short and all the hopes and dreams that were ruined have changed our state forever. Florida will never be the same," he said.

The $500-million plan involves gun laws, school safety and mental health. But it does not include a gun ban.

"I know there are some who are advocating a mass takeaway of Second Amendment rights for all Americans. That is not the answer. Keeping guns away from dangerous people and people with mental issues is what we need to do," Scott said.

He also said the recent shooting makes it clear that Floridians cannot trust the federal government to investigate serious and credible threats. He's calling for a statewide hotline where people can anonymously report people they view as potential mass murderers.

Scott's plan aims to keep guns away from dangerous and violent people by:

-- Creating a "Violent Threat Restraining Order” that will allow a court to bar a violent or mentally ill person from purchasing or possessing a firearm when a family member, community welfare expert or law enforcement officer files a sworn request and presents evidence to the court.

-- Raising the legal age to purchase a gun to 21 in Florida and banning the sale or purchase of bump stocks.

-- Establishing enhanced criminal penalties for threats to schools, such as social media threats of shootings or bombings.

-- Requiring people who are involuntarily committed to surrender all guns, and they could not petition a court to restore their firearms for at least 60 days.

For school safety, the governor outlined a $450-million proposal:

Every public school will have mandatory resource officers, either sworn sheriff's deputies or police officers, and Scott wants at least one for every 1000 students.

If local school boards agree, additional school personnel or reserve law enforcement officiers may also be trained to protect students.

Active shooter training will be mandatory at all public schools.

Each district will get more money for "school hardening measures" such as metal detectors, bullet-proof glass, steel doors, and upgraded locks.

A new, anonymous "See Something, Say Something” statewide, dedicated hotline, website and mobile app will be established so people can flag potential threats. "We know that the federal government can’t even be counted on to investigate or act on serious and credible threats as we saw with the FBI’s complete failure," Scott said. "It’s obvious we can’t trust the federal process, which is why we have to make these changes here in Florida."

Schools will get dedicated funding for mental health counselors who will provide direct counseling services to students at every school. Every student will have to meet one-on-one with a counselor at least once during the school year.

Every school must have a threat assessment team, including a teacher, a local law enforcement officer, a human resource officer, various state employees, and the principal. The team must meet monthly to review any potential threats to students and staff at the school.

Crisis  intervention training will be required for all school personnel before the start of school next year.

Scott also outlined a $50-million proposal to expand mental health services statewide, for both children and adults.

"The goal of this plan of action is to make massive changes in protecting our schools, provide significantly more resources for mental health, and do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of those dealing with mental problems or threating harm to themselves or others," the governor said.

"Change is coming, and it will come fast," Gov. Scott promised.

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