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State Senate Hears School Safety Plan

March 3rd, 2018 by Jake Stofan

The Florida Senate met for a rare Saturday session to debate the Legislature’s plan to increase school safety.

Before the Senate convened a group of protesters gathered in the Capitol courtyard, urging lawmakers to forego the Marshal Program included in the School Safety bill.

It would allow trained teachers to carry a gun in the classroom if a school district chooses to allow it. 1st grade special ed teacher, Kristin Mackay was among the protesters.

“This being passed would not only make me want to quit as a young teacher who’s just starting out, but also my coworkers would be standing by me as well,” said Mackay.

In debate, Democrat Senator Gary Farmer expressed concerns over a lack of state oversight, saying too much authority is given to locals sheriff to determine how the programs are implemented.

“If the sheriff were to authorize the marshal to carry an assault weapon,” asked Farmer. “That would be allowed?”

“That would be left to the sheriffs,” said Senator Bill Galvano.

The Senate briefly adopted an temporary ban on the AR-15 but then backed off.

An attempt for an all-out ban also failed.

Other gun restrictions included in the bill stand in the way of some Republican’s support.

“If it has the age increases and the waiting periods in it I will not support it,” said Senator Greg Steube.

And the greatest threat to Democrats’ support is the Marshal program.

“Some of us who are all about true safety and not arming teachers or any other personnel that would be inside of a classroom,” said Senator Audrey Gibson.

The full Senate will vote on the proposal Monday.

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