Florida passes law allowing teachers to carry guns at school

Abigail McArthur-Self, Editor-in-Chief

Florida recently passed a law that would allow teachers to carry firearms on school campuses. This measure is an extension of a previous act that allowed specific armed staff members at schools.

Individual school districts can decide to reject or accept the program. In districts that do implement these changes, teachers who wish to be armed at school must go through a background check, a psychological evaluation and a gun safety training course through a sheriff’s office.

The idea behind the bill was recommended by the commission tasked with the investigation of the Parkland shooting.

Proponents of the bill believe it will enable teachers to react in emergency situations and will serve to make schools a safer place for both students and staff.

The new legislation has been controversial, however. Many students, parents, and school officials have argued that arming teachers is the wrong approach to mitigating school shootings and will only serve to increase the risk of violence. Some opponents also worried that arming teachers might mean students would have to worry about threats both from outside the school and from the adults who should be taking care of them.

Along with concerns that teachers with guns might react too quickly and cause unnecessary injury was the concern that minority students — especially African Americans — could be disproportionately affected.

According to the Washington Post, House Representative Shevrin Jones suggested an amendment that would require teachers who wished to be armed to participate in implicit bias training to help mitigate these risks. The amendment, however, was rejected.

Despite the at-times heated debate surrounding it, the law allowing teachers to be armed on school campuses passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Florida’s governor.