The Parkland, Florida massacre has sent shockwaves through the nation and has left states scratching their heads over how to make schools safer. The Florida state legislature on Wednesday passed a bill that directly addresses that issue, and it passed not without controversy.
The bill would allow some teachers and staff personnel to carry firearms on school campuses, and at the same time increases the age requirement for purchasing a firearm to persons age 21 and older.
According to The Daily Wire, the bill has already passed the Senate and now awaits Republican Governor Rick Scott to review it. If made into law, the bill is sure to stir controversy, as it has already.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Some classroom teachers would be allowed to carry guns, although only a select few. Librarians, media specialists, advisors, coaches and other personnel could be armed as well.
Current service members, current or former law enforcement officers and teachers in a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp program could also be armed. In addition to arming teachers, the bill also provides $300 million in funding for mental health programs, school resource officers, school safety upgrades and more.
It also restricts the firearm purchases to persons 21 and older, at the same time requiring a three-day waiting period and background check. This timeframe is the same limitation currently in place for purchases of handguns.
The bill stirred controversy among the lawmakers who argued over it. Even some Democrats supported it, even though it armed teachers. Conversely, not all Republicans were in support of it because of the age increase to purchase a firearm.
“There is a cultural divide in this room, in this state and across the country,” said Democratic Representative Kristin Jacobs. “And there’s a bill before us that is not perfect.”
Republican Representative Jay Fant voted no. He believes the bill is unconstitutional due the age increase in purchasing a firearm.
“I just can’t imagine that (Parkland, Florida shooter) can commit such a heinous crime and then as a result we tell, potentially, a 20-year-old single mother living alone that she cannot purchase a firearm to defend herself,” he said.
What do you think? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page. Be sure to read about a teen arrested Wednesday after making a threat against a high school.