Today in Tallahassee Gov. Rick Scott rolled out his new plan to keep schools safe in the state he made no mention of arming teachers on school grounds. But in another part of the state capital that topic was being embraced by the very lawmakers who Gov. Scott needs to get his plan passed into law.
As you might have guessed by now the Legislature’s Republican leadership proposed letting teachers carry a gun if they have had law enforcement training — a provision that House Speaker Richard Corcoran called a “game changer.” The legislators’ plan also calls for a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases, with exceptions.
Meanwhile that did not set well with the Democrats said neither the plan put forth by Gov. Rick Scott nor the one coming out of the Speakers office goes far enough toward protecting Florida’s schools.
“Unfortunately, both plans omit a third, critically important piece of legislation Democrats have been and continue to push for: a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines,” said state Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon. He added that recent mass shootings show that “so long as these high powered weapons of war remain available for purchase these killings will continue.”
Talia Rumsky, a 16-year-old Stoneman Douglas High student who was at school during the shooting, was among those who travelled to Tallahassee Wednesday to lobby lawmakers about gun control.
She said Scott’s plan to make it illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase a gun is a start, but said she doesn’t think it goes far enough.
“This is a great first step and we appreciate it,” the sophomore said. “But it’s not enough and we’re going to make sure they know it’s not enough and is not solving our problems.”
Despite support from the Speaker of the House in Florida and President Trump there was some pushback from state school officials on arming the teachers. Broward schools Superintendent Robert Runcie called that a non-starter.
“I am totally against arming teachers,” he said. “They have a challenging job as it is.”
Trump told reporters Friday that schools need some kind of “offensive” capability to deter and respond to attackers.
“If they’re not gun free, if there are guns inside, held by the right people, by highly trained professionals, you’re going to see this end. It won’t be happening again. Our schools are essentially gun-free zones and that makes them very dangerous places,” the president said.
After days of funerals for those killed in the attack, teachers began the emotionally fraught process of returning to the school Friday to collect belongings from classrooms that have been off-limits since the slayings. Following an orientation Sunday for teachers and students, classes resume Wednesday.
Broward teacher’s union president Anna Fusco met with the teachers as they returned to campus Friday hailing them as “incredibly brave and strong.”
“I met with one that was grazed with a bullet … she has a hole in her arm and a bruise from her shoulder to her elbow that looks like somebody whacked her with a bat and she’s like, ’I’m here because we need to get things ready,” Fusco said.
THE QUOTES USED IN THIS STORY WERE PROVIDED BT THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.