House passes bill allowing volunteers to carry concealed guns on school grounds

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Parents, teachers and public school employees may be able to carry a concealed gun on campus as a volunteer “school safety designee” under a House measure approved on Monday.

Bill HB 753, which passed 71-44, will allow superintendents, with school board approval, to appoint a number of trained individuals who can carry a concealed firearm on school grounds.

The goal of the plan is to avert violent incidents such as on-campus shootings, especially at schools without law enforcement on the campus, reports Jim Rosica of the Tampa Tribune.

“The only thing that stops an active shooter is someone else who is armed,” said Republican Rep. Doc Renuart.

Voicing opposition to the bill, Democratic Rep. Dwayne Taylor mentioned the bumbling sheriff’s deputy in the 1960s era “Andy Griffith Show,” played by Don Knotts.

“No offense, but I just don’t want Barney Fife to get his one bullet out and try to protect our children,” said Taylor.

Arming school staff members might give a “false sense of security,” he added, suggesting they use walkie-talkies instead.

Another Democrat, Rep. Mark Danish, said, “If we’re going to do the right thing, we need professionals to do it. If we need to do this, and we might, let’s spend the money.”

Roscia notes that the bill’s next stop is the Senate floor, where SB 968, a companion bill, has languished in committee since March.

 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.