Florida Governor Signs Gun Control Bill That Will Allow School Staff to Carry Guns

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Florida Governor Rick Scott signed new gun restrictions into law on Friday over objections by the powerful gun lobby, marking the first legislative effort to restrict firearms in the gun-friendly state in decades.

The new law creates a three-day waiting period to buy a gun, raises the minimum age to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer from 18 to 21, and bans bump stocks, the device that allows a semiautomatic weapon to fire like an automatic one. But the law, which comes about a month after 17 students and teachers were killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, also allows for the creation of a voluntary “guardian” program to allow certain school staff to carry guns after they complete training and pass other evaluations, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled legislature with a 20–18 vote in the Senate and a 67–50 vote in the House. The legislature previously voted against a motion to take up a bill to ban assault weapons.


The trade-off for these relatively minor restrictions is, of course, the fact that the law also allows for school personnel to be armed—an idea that teachers’ groups, parents, and the NAACP oppose. Black children already disproportionately face violent discipline from teachers. As Patrick Blanchfield wrote in The Intercept about discriminatory violence in our education system:

America’s crowded and beleaguered school systems see a lot of this kind of violence, too: Incidents in which teachers and school administrators whip students with belts, flip their desks, body-slam them, or drag them by their hair occur with distressing frequency.


While the limitations on guns are a positive step, it’s distinctly American that the cost of those restrictions is allowing school staff to carry guns.