Florida Senate votes to arm teachers, rejects assault weapon ban

Florida lawmakers have since added a voluntary "school marshal" program to the slate of gun reform and school safely measures. Several Democrats said they wouldn't vote for the bill if it included the so-called guardian program, which would put more guns in schools.

The bill drew bipartisan opposition, and if one more senator had voted "no", it would have failed on a tie.

Piccolo said the arming of teachers, contentious as it is, will likely remain in the bill as it moves through the House in part, because of strong support from Republicans.

"So what do we have before us today?"

Republican Rep. Elizabeth Porter pushed back at critics who say lawmakers should heed the student protesters' call for an assault-weapons ban. "This is why people are so fed up with politics".

"We want to get something passed that immediately addresses the safety in schools", he said. "I'm not saying don't go after gun laws".

Democratic senator Darryl Rouson from St. Petersburg said, "The same number of people that died in Parkland have died since Parkland and every day before that". As a model, she cited a program in Florida's Polk County where teachers or other employees at two private universities have trained with the sheriff's office so they can carry concealed weapons on campus. "He's been clear - he doesn't think teachers should be armed".

"Some of the pieces that we play have a lovely story behind it, and I think it's better to look at the beauty of it than the sadness", clarinet player Mackenzie Hurst said. As history has sadly showed us time and time again is that school staff members are willing to sacrifice themselves for their students. Porter said. "No. The adults make the laws". Bill Galvano after Galvano's bill, passed 20-18 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. The House will vote on it Wednesday.

Lawmakers are scrambling to take some kind of action before the annual session ends Friday.

The proposal has been a big priority of Gov. Rick Scott, who has also tried to push the supermajority vote mandate through the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. Some $200 million is set aside for grant programs to harden schools in the state while $69 million would go to fund mental health services.

"We need layers, layers, and layers of security measures in these schools that will make them safer", said Lori Alhadeff whose 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was murdered.

Meanwhile, prosecutors and lawyers for the victims are going to court to handle the aftermath of the Valentine's Day massacre. The measure would provide funding for mobile crisis teams working under the authority of the Department of Children and Families, as well as mental health assistance and mental health first aid training for schools.

  • Joanne Flowers