A bill has been filed for staff and teachers to carry weapons at Florida schools on Wednesday by State Representative Greg Steube, A Republican in Sarasota.
"The main crux of the bill is it allows principals to designate certain people that are employees of the school, to carry a concealed firearm, if they go through certain training," said Steube.
Steube filed HB 1097-School Safety, which seeks to enhance safety measures in Florida schools and provide students with a safe learning environment.
The bill would allow a school principal to designate one or more members of school personnel to carry a concealed firearm or weapon while performing his or her official duties.
Steube said the designated personnel must complete additional training and coursework that covers emergency procedures, life safety, methods of prevention, terrorism awareness and firearm proficiency to ensure they are prepared to respond appropriately in the event that a threat arises on campus.
If the principal did not want to designate anyone to do this, then the bill requires that the school have a school safety officer present on campus.
"I support it because I think if Sandy Hook had somebody that had a weapon, none of that would have happened," said Alicia Ross, whose children attend Manatee County schools. "I just think one armed person can stop a whole lot."
Steube agrees and said in an effort to protect Florida students and staff from a violent campus crime, like the recent Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, something like this is needed.
"I think a lot of parents and teachers understand we have a hole in our security," said Steube. "We need to do something."
Steube said an example of this is in Manatee County.
Currently, there is a school resource officer at every high school.
For middle schools, one officer is responsible for around three schools at a time, and visits each one as needed.
However, there are no resource officers in any elementary schools in Manatee.
Steube said this lack of protection concerns him.
"To me that's a problem and I saw a need to make sure our students and teachers are safe," he said.
Steube said while he can't prevent people from doing bad things, he thinks this added security would give students and staff the extra level of protection they need to stay safe.
The bill does not provide any money for training.
Steube said it would be up to the individual or school to pay for this.