On February 14, 2018, 17 people were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting caused young activists to rise up and fight for stricter gun laws. Well, congress has failed them again.
Let’s start with the good, according to NPR, “The proposals, which passed by a 20-18 vote, include raising age restrictions on the purchase of all firearms in the state, banning the purchase and possession of bump stocks, and setting a three-day waiting period to buy any gun, including rifles and shotguns.” The package also included $400 million for mental health services, which would include mobile crisis teams and school safety programs, such as metal detectors, bulletproof glass and school resource officers.
However, the most despicable part of the bill is to arm “some” teachers — even though activists, law enforcement (yes, even cops don’t want teachers armed) and Republican Governor Rick Scott said they were opposed to arming teacher. It’s being sold as an “opt-in” program, according to the Miami Herald,“Under the amendment, proposed by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Miami, classroom teachers would not be armed if a school district decides to participate in the so-called ‘school marshal’ program established in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. However, other school personnel, including support staff who provide some instructional work, current or former servicemen or JROTC instructors, would be able to carry firearms.”
If a teacher “volunteers” to have a weapon in class, they are going to give them a gun via a “school marshal” program? There was a shooting last week in Georgia — by a teacher with a weapon. Why does anyone think more weapons will make us safer?
What will happen when a teacher feels “threatened” by a student, believes their life is in danger and shoots a child? This would be especially problematic, considering it is a proven fact that Black and brown students are punished more than white students. As Vox said, “Proposals to arm teachers fail students of color.”
In addition, what type of gun will these teachers have? The shooters use AR-15s (Parkland, Vegas, Aurora, Sandy Hook, etc.), a dainty handgun is not going to prevent an AR-15. The one thing gun control activists in Florida have been begging for is a statewide ban on assault weapons and limits on high-capacity magazines, which would include AR-15s. The Florida lawmakers rejected the ban.
These amendments play right into the demands of the NRA. Sounds like the Flordia Senate cares more about the NRA than American lives. The bill now moves to Florida’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives.