Teachers in Florida will soon be allowed to carry guns in the classroom after legislators passed a bill in response to the Parkland shooting. School districts across the state can now take part in a voluntary Guardian program which will arm teachers who pass a 144-hour training course.
The Florida's House of Representatives voted 65 to 47 to pass the bill after hours of discussion over two days. The Republican majority stopped Democratic efforts to kill the bill. Florida's Senate approved it 22 to 17 and Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law.
Expecting the bill to be signed into law, school employees in 40 of Florida's 67 counties already enrolled in or planned to take the 144-hour course, a spokesman for the Speaker of the House said.
The idea was first floated after a former student armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association then argued an armed teacher could provide the best defense against a shooter bent on mass murder.
Supporters of this bill argued that school shootings often erupt too quickly for law enforcement to respond.
Opponents argue that the presence of even more guns is not the solution and warned of the danger of a teacher misfiring during a crisis or police mistaking an armed teacher for the assailant.