A recent University of South Florida Sunshine State Survey shows that 56 percent of adult Floridians are in favor of allowing trained staff to carry firearms on school campuses.
“Stronger supporters are males, working-age residents, whites, those living in affluent households, college graduates, and residents of the Orlando and North Florida areas,” the USF release said.
The survey shows that 40 percent were opposed to the idea, with 29 percent of those being “strongly opposed.”
Not surprising, opposition comes from females, older Floridians, African-Americans, lower-income households, those with less formal education and residents of the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area, according to a report by the Sunshine State News.
This issue of guns in schools is not new to Florida.
The state legislature has attempted to pass legislation allowing firearms on elementary, secondary and college campuses for years.
In 2015, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) introduced a proposal that would have allowed superintendents to authorize “school safety designees” to carry guns on elementary and secondary school campus grounds.
That proposal passed the House, but died in a Senate subcommittee.
Rep. Steube proposed a bill earlier this year to allow trained staff to carry concealed at kindergarten through 12th grade school facilities. That measure, too, failed to garner enough support to pass this legislative session.
Undeterred, Rep. Steube says he will introduce some version of his bill in the next legislative session as well.
U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney David S. Katz supports the idea of allowing trained staff to carry on school campuses, which are currently all “gun-free zones.”
Katz explained, “[U]nder current Florida law, our children are sitting targets. Anyone who wants to hurt them can enter the school campus and do so without worrying about lawful concealed weapons license holders offering resistance. In fact, until police arrive, they will face no armed opposition and are free to harm our children unopposed.” Katz also pointed out that, “anyone who wants to go to a school and shoot children will not change their plan because the school is a gun-free zone. Criminals simply do not care what the law says.”
There are Florida gun groups that support the idea of having trained staff on campus to respond to situations like the one that occurred at Sandy Hook a few years ago.
In an interview reported by Sunshine State News, Sean Caranna of Florida Carry said that his group is working to bring the FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response) program to Florida.
Under FASTER, school officials select willing, competent and capable staff members to train with experts on school violence in armed response, crisis management, and emergency medical aid. The hands-on training takes 26 hours over a three-day period.
The goal of FASTER is to train teachers, administrators, and other personnel on-site to stop school violence rapidly and render medical aid immediately. It still requires that each school board authorize the persons who complete the training to carry a firearm on campus.
And before that can occur, the law in Florida will have to be changed.
Is armed, trained staff on campus is a good idea? We know what we think. What do you believe?