Florida Governor Signs Law Allowing More Teachers To Carry Weapons In School

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that would let school districts allow teachers to carry firearms in classrooms.

DeSantis did not make a public statement after the private bill signing Wednesday, but over the weekend expressed optimism about what the bill could do for school safety.

Ron DeSantis signed a bill that allows teachers to be armed in classrooms of public schools in the state.

Although the 54-page Senate Bill 7030 sparked days of debate and was one of the most contentious bills of the 2019 legislative session, DeSantis drew as little attention as possible in making it law, holding no news conference or ceremony. Would-be volunteers must undergo at least 144 hours of police-style training, psychiatric evaluation and drug screening.

The program allows school districts to partner with law enforcement to train and arm some school personnel, but did not include teachers until now. A policy to allow armed teachers must be authorized at the local school district level.

The bill goes into effect on October 1. Under a previous law, passed immediately after the February 2018 Parkland shooting, only teachers who had another role at school, such as sports coach, were eligible to carry weapons on campus. They're also required to obtain authorization from the school board, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Broward County, where the Parkland shooting took place, has rejected the program. Democrats and the teachers' unions strongly objected, saying it made schools less safe.

The bill also features other items aimed at school safety, including greater reporting of school safety incidents, a standardized risk assessment process for unsafe students, and new guidelines on school-based mental health.

  • Joey Payne