Florida legislature considering bill to arm teachers

School districts—like Lee County—will start working with the sheriff’s office to deputize teachers or staff to carry a gun on campus. Gun experts say the proposed plan has more training and requirements than a school resource officer.

SWFL parents are now preparing themselves for the real possibility of teachers packing heat.

“132 hours? That’s pretty extensive,” said former special operations officer Aaron Forum. The plan calls for teachers to have 132 hours of training before being able to bring a weapon on campus.

“They want to not only train the individuals. They’re making this voluntary—that way people who feel like they fit that role (can participate),” added Phil Francisco, owner of the Wet Dreams Custom Shop.

Gun experts agree with Florida lawmakers—and their $67 million pilot program.

“It’s really important to try to get the right type of training—and practice frequently,” Forum said.

“I believe that empowering an individual in a situation like this is going to be the only way to stop an insane individual,” added Francisco.

In the Senate bill, volunteer teachers and staff would complete 132 hours of firearm safety and proficiency training, and need to keep refreshing that training.

They’d also have to pass a background check, drug test and psychological evaluation.

The bill doesn’t describe how teachers will keep their guns stored, however.

“You can store them in a way that’s both safe—keep people from unauthorized access and that’s also a way to quickly get access,” Forum said.

At least eight U.S. states allow people with concealed carry permits to bring guns onto K-12 campuses. Texas has a similar model to what Florida is proposing.

“If teachers want to shepherd their flock and protect what is our greatest asset to this country—why are we stopping them? That’s my question,” Francisco said.

The Florida Senate could vote on arming teachers by Friday. A similar bill is being considered in the House chamber. The Florida legislature adjourns next Friday.

Gov. Rick Scott is not a fan of this particular bill.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
Writer:Erica Brown
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