TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — With some lawmakers saying schools can be easy targets for deranged shooters, a House panel Wednesday approved a bill that would allow designated employees or volunteers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds in case of emergency situations.
Backers said the bill, sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, could help prevent repeats of incidents such as the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“To do nothing is inexcusable as policymakers when we know we have a problem,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. “They (schools) are still sterile targets today.”
But Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach, said the state should look to school-resource officers to be responsible for school safety, rather than allowing other people to be armed on campuses.
The House K-12 Subcommittee voted 9-4 to support the measure, which is the House version of a bill that passed a Senate committee this week.
The people designated to carry concealed weapons would have to meet criteria, such as having military or law-enforcement backgrounds and taking school-safety and weapons training.
The bill also requires school districts to hold active-shooter drills once a year — similar to fire drills. Local law enforcement would also be required to review schools every three years and present suggestions for safety precautions.
Also under the bill, school districts would not be required to allow such people to carry guns on campus.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”