Florida GOP's answer to school shootings is putting more guns in schools


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing teachers to carry guns in schools across the state.

In the aftermath of school shootings across their state and the nation, Florida Republicans decided the solution was to flood schools with even more guns.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed legislation on Wednesday allowing teachers across Florida to opt-in to a program to carry guns in Florida schools. DeSantis signed the bill a day after nine students were shot at STEM school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, including Kendrick Castillo, an 18-year-old senior who died trying to protect other students.

The bill does not require teachers to carry weapons into school, but rather allows teachers from districts who want to participate in the program go through training and then carry a weapon into their classrooms.

"Governor DeSantis has turned his back on every student and teacher in Florida today, but we will not," Gay Valimont, a volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement.

The new law did not sit well with survivors of Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

"I'm scared for the next generation of students who will grow up afraid of gun violence in their schools; not just from a shooter, but from the guns that could be carried by their teachers," Sari Kaufman, a survivor of that shooting, said in a statement after the bill was signed into law.

Democrats opposed the bill, pointing out the inherent dangers of putting more guns into the hand of more people in more schools. In the midst of days of debate, a school resource officer at a Pasco County middle school accidentally fired his weapon in a school cafeteria. No one was hurt in this instance, and the incident did not deter Florida Republicans from advancing their pro-gun measure.

The bill was also vehemently opposed by a wide range of organizations, including the Florida Education Association and the National Association of School Resource Officers. Florida voters opposed arming teachers by a 57% to 40% margin. When given the choice, Florida voters overwhelmingly support stricter gun laws over handing out guns to teachers, even if the teachers receive training.

But the idea of teachers packing heat is still embraced by the NRA, Trump, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Republicans across the nation continue to vote for more guns in the hands of more people rather than for the safety of children.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.