After drawing substantial debate in the 2014 legislative session, a lawmaker is revisiting the issue of allowing public-school employees and volunteers to carry guns on campus.
State Rep. Greg Steube filed HB 19 this week, a new proposal for consideration in the 2015 session.
The Sarasota Republican’s bill allows school superintendents, with support of local school boards, to authorize a “school safety designee” to bring concealed weapons on school property. Designees can be honorably discharged military veterans, active-duty military, National Guard or reserves, active-duty or former law-enforcement officers. The designee must have a license to carry a concealed weapon, complete a school-safety course and pass background checks.
According to the proposal, the Legislature does not require schools to have designees but says the intent of the Legislature is “to prevent violent crimes from occurring on school grounds.” The goal of the bill is “safe keeping of our students, teachers and campuses.”
Although the Florida House voted in April 2014 to support its version of the bill, the proposal failed to pass the Senate.
Florida should spend money on additional trained law-enforcement officers on campuses, as school resource officers, critics say, instead advancing the designee program.