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Florida Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Everytown Criticize Florida House For Passing a Bill That Would Allow Teachers to be Armed

May 1, 2019

The Florida House Voted to Advance the Bill Despite Statewide Opposition From Educators, Veterans and Survivors of Gun Violence and Evidence That Arming Teachers Is a Risky Idea

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following response after the Florida House voted to pass SB 7030, which would expand the Guardian Program to allow classroom teachers to be armed, even over the objection of local sheriffs.

“Armed teachers have no place in our kids’ classrooms,” said Gay Valimont, volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The risks of arming teachers are well documented, as is the research indicating there are much better ways to keep our kids safe in school. We implore Gov. DeSantis to listen to Floridians and veto this risky bill. We will remember which lawmakers stand on the side of public safety at this critical time.”

“Students across Florida sent a clear message to Tallahassee: We don’t want our teachers to be armed,” said Jovanna Liuzzo, volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We are frustrated and angry that members of the House ignored that message today, and as we register to vote we won’t soon forget that they turned their backs on us. We call on Gov. DeSantis to veto this bill.”

SB 7030 would expand the Guardian Program established in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which is an already unpopular and dangerous program. A report from the Tampa Bay Times revealed that only a minority of school districts have chosen to implement the Guardian Program and several of those that did experienced problems. In fact, the Sarasota school board, Hillsborough school board and Pinellas school board have already voted not to allow teachers to be armed even if the legislation passes.

Editorials from the Gainesville Sun, Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times, The Palm Beach Post and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune have opposed the idea of arming teachers. Recently, an article in the Miami New Times highlighted instances of Florida teachers misusing guns, indicating that arming teachers is dangerous and can lead to unintentional shootings.

Arming teachers is also unpopular with voters; a recent poll from Quinnipiac University showed that a strong majority of Florida voters oppose allowing teachers or school officials to carry guns in schools, even if they are given training.

Research indicates that arming teachers will make children less safe. For this reason, school safety experts, teachers, parents and law enforcement officials across the country oppose arming teachers, including the Florida Education Association. The National Association of School Resource Officers, the largest organization of school-based law enforcement officers, also opposes arming teachers.

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