On Wednesday the Florida Legislature passed SB 7030, which contains a provision that would allow public school teachers to carry firearms in schools. The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence denounces introducing even more guns in our schools against the wishes of teachers, students, parents, and many of our state’s local school boards.
Andy Pelosi, co-chair of the Coalition, offered the following, “Like every other parent, I am concerned about the well-being of my two children. I expect them to come home safely every day. What I don’t expect is for our school districts to outsource their security to school employees whose primary job is to instruct students. While SB 7030 does contain some important measures to improve safety, the Legislature again failed to address the easy access to the type of weapon used at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Pulse, and mass shootings across the country: military-style assault weapons. The answer to school safety must include increased counseling and mental health services — not adding more guns to our educational institutions.”
Coalition co-chair Angie Gallo said, “As expected, SB 7030 passed almost entirely along party lines. I am disappointed that many in the Legislature think this is the best way to protect our most precious commodity: our children. Parents, students, and teachers have been very vocal in their opposition to arming teachers. For a Legislature that values parental choice, I am confused as to why there was no provision that would allow parents or students to opt out if they did not wish to be in a classroom with a teacher who is armed. I am saddened that our lawmakers ignored the voices of the majority and instead chose to listen to the opinion of a few.”
“Once again we are seeing the majority of our legislators ignore the real problem of mass shootings: easy access to assault weapons. If our Legislature really wanted to prevent further mass shootings, a ban on weapons that are equipped to kill many people in a very short time would be far more effective than pushing guns into the hands of civilians, in this case, teachers. This is a sad day for Florida,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.
The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence was founded after the Pulse shooting in 2016 to promote smart gun legislation. It has grown to include more than 100 local, state, and national organizations and includes such diverse groups as the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, Florida PTA, Equality Florida, the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, National Council of Jewish Women, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.