TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida bill that will allow classroom teachers to legally carry guns is heading to the governor's desk after the GOP-led Florida House passed it Wednesday.
- Legislation was in response to Parkland school shooting last year
- Bill would allow more school personnel to legally carry gun on campus
- It now heads to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk for signature into law
- RELATED: Florida Bill to Let Teachers Carry Firearms Could Soon Be Reality
The bill, which passed with a vote of 65-47, expands the Guardian program signed into law last year, which allowed school personnel with the exception of classroom teachers to be armed, provided they go through proper training. Under this new measure, the exception is removed.
The training would include police-style training and a psychiatric evaluation.
The legislation stems from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland last year in which 17 people were killed.
"What do we say as state policy makers to those counties who cannot have a law enforcement officer on their campus?" Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, whose 36th District includes Miami-Dade County.
Diaz says the legislation doesn't make carrying a gun mandatory and that school administrators should have the option.
Parents, lawmakers react
Not all parents and teachers back the plan.
"I am one of those mothers who definitely would not want my child in a classroom with a gun, knowing a gun was in there with that teacher, even if it was the teacher of the year," parent Nina Yoakum said.
Parents in Orlando had mixed reactions. One mom at Hillcrest Elementary School said she thinks teachers need proper training first.
“If they are going have to training, I agree, I think they have to protect the kids inside the school,” said Angie Cerro.
But another parent, who did not want to be identified, said the responsibility is too heavy for teachers.
“I feel teachers have enough responsibility, and to have them be armed is something they are not prepared for,” they said.
On the national level, U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando is reintroducing a bill to block the White House from using anti-terrorism funding to give guns to educators. Demings says arming teachers is a recipe for disaster and calls the guardian bill reckless.
The bill now moves to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk for his signature into law.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.