Florida lawmakers approve bill to arm teachers

Florida lawmakers approve bill to arm teachers
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The Florida House Appropriations Committee approved a bill Tuesday to implement measures to prevent future school shootings, including a $67 million program to train teachers to carry guns.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the Republican-controlled committee voted along party lines to approve a “school marshal” program. The bill proposes putting 10 teachers trained to carry a gun in every school. The state's Senate Appropriations Committee passed a similar bill on Tuesday.

The state would reportedly cover the costs of background checks, drug testing, psychological exams and 132 hours of training, but doesn’t address whether teachers would have to buy a gun for themselves. 

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The bill also includes provisions that impose a three-day waiting period for gun purchases in the state, raises the age requirement to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and calls for $400 million to improve school security.

The vote comes two weeks after a gunman opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others. The latest mass shooting has prompted renewed discussion over school safety and gun laws, led largely by students from the Florida high school.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE has repeatedly proposed arming teachers as a way to prevent future school shootings, suggesting those willing to carry a firearm could receive a bonus. He has also backed a proposal to raise the minimum age requirement to purchase a high-powered gun like the one used in Parkland from 18 to 21.

Democrats have overwhelmingly opposed the idea of arming teachers, and multiple Republicans, including Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Senate adds members to pro-NATO group McConnell reassures Europe on Russia MORE (Fla.) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, have said they disagree with the idea.

Many educators, including some in Parkland, have also spoken out against the idea.