Florida lawmakers approve bill to arm teachers

Florida lawmakers approve bill to arm teachers
© Getty Images

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. 


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 nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery 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 RubioOn The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Trump declares national emergency at border Democrats veer left as Trump cements hold on Republicans 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.