Bill aims to arm teachers in Florida - WFLA News Channel 8

Bill aims to arm teachers in Florida

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

A Sarasota lawmaker wants to arm teachers.  State representative Greg Steube filed a bill that would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus, after they got permission from an administrator.

Mike Magowan's life revolves around guns.  The former service member is a firearms instructor, and some of his recent pupils were school teachers.  Magowan said, "It's a sick world, so we gotta figure out how to make ourselves safer in it."

Florida State representative Greg Steube has an idea.  The Sarasota lawmaker is pushing House Bill 1097, which would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons.

Principals and school superintendents would decide who would be allowed to carry the guns, and that teacher or staff member must provide proof they've been trained to use the weapon.  Magowan said, "I'm all about it. I'll train 'em for free."

Arming teachers is a good idea to some. But others say leave it to the experts.  Susan Bilotti is a former preschool teacher. She thinks teachers should stick to school, not shooting.

Bilotti said, "I personally don't like the idea at all. I think teachers have way too many other things to focus on."  The interim security director with Sarasota county schools, Darrell Reyka says there's no easy solution.  He said, "Every idea that comes across needs to be studied. I'm certainly not going to say it's a bad idea."

Reyka added, "Law enforcement officers are the best qualified, best trained to deal with an active shooter on a school campus."  Magowan thinks more can be done.  He said, "The cops are doing the best job the can- there's not enough of them."

Under this proposed bill, if a school doesn't have any armed teachers, then the school system must hire a resource officer to patrol the hallways. The bill is waiting to be sent to a committee.  Right now, all Sarasota county middle and high schools have armed officers, but the elementary schools do not.

School administrators say it could cost $2 million to put an armed officer inside every elementary school in the county.

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