There is only one more stop for a major bill that allows classroom teachers to carry guns while teaching.
Senate Bill 7030 expands the so-called Guardian Bill passed last year after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The current law establishes “guardians” who are non-instructional school staff who choose to undergo training by local law enforcement to carry guns in schools and respond to active shooters. Many school districts have opted not to arm school staff but have highly trained professional law enforcement personnel on campuses instead.
On Tuesday afternoon, the controversial Senate Bill 7030 passed another committee in the Florida Senate. The votes fell along party lines with every Republican voting for the NRA backed bill. There is just one more committee in both the House and Senate before it reaches the floor for a final vote.
An amendment for parental choice was proposed by a Democrat. Ironically, it was voted down by all of the Republicans on the committee who normally champion parental choice in education decisions. From the Tampa Bay Times:
“But amidst the emotional debate surrounding the bill, a new idea emerged that caught the attention of a prominent Republican senator.
Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo of Miami proposed an amendment that would allow parents to “opt out” their child from a classroom with an armed teacher. She likened the proposal to parents’ rights to opt their children out of certain testing and physical education requirements.
“I hope that we consider the parents’ choice in all this and the students, many of them spoke saying they’d like to have the choice.” she said. The amendment was ultimately voted down…”
Tuesday’s hearing was highly charged and many people traveled to Tallahassee to testify against the bill.
The packed committee room — standing room only — was mostly filled with students, teachers and activists vehemently opposed to allowing teachers to carry guns. Among them was Alyson Sheehy, who graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High last year.
“Now we’re here, over a year, since the worst day of my life,” she said. ”As of last week two more students, friends, died.”
“Teachers’ focus,” Sheehy added, “should be on education, the job they signed up for.”