Parents, teachers and public school employees may be able to carry a concealed gun on campus as a volunteer “school safety designee” under a House measure approved on Monday.
Bill HB 753, which passed 71-44, will allow superintendents, with school board approval, to appoint a number of trained individuals who can carry a concealed firearm on school grounds.
The goal of the plan is to avert violent incidents such as on-campus shootings, especially at schools without law enforcement on the campus, reports Jim Rosica of the Tampa Tribune.
“The only thing that stops an active shooter is someone else who is armed,” said Republican Rep. Doc Renuart.
Voicing opposition to the bill, Democratic Rep. Dwayne Taylor mentioned the bumbling sheriff’s deputy in the 1960s era “Andy Griffith Show,” played by Don Knotts.
“No offense, but I just don’t want Barney Fife to get his one bullet out and try to protect our children,” said Taylor.
Arming school staff members might give a “false sense of security,” he added, suggesting they use walkie-talkies instead.
Another Democrat, Rep. Mark Danish, said, “If we’re going to do the right thing, we need professionals to do it. If we need to do this, and we might, let’s spend the money.”
Roscia notes that the bill’s next stop is the Senate floor, where SB 968, a companion bill, has languished in committee since March.