While Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd wants to selectively train and arm school staff, a school board member has another idea.

  • Polk County School Boardmember Billy Townsend wants AR-15 registry
  • Says it would make it easy for law enforcement to react to 'red flags'
  • Townsend hopes Polk County sheriff will take up the concept

Polk County School Boardmember Billy Townsend would like for local law enforcement to have access to a registry of AR-15 owners, basically treating guns likes cars.

“If someone gets a red flag, we don’t know what guns he has, what access he has to an AR-15. If his neighbor has one," Townsend explained. "Those types of things we don’t know. I don’t want to know but I want my law enforcement to so that they can act quickly on a red flag.”

At a gun shop in Lakeland, gun owners reacted differently to the idea.

“You need to know who got guns. You got some nut cases. Everybody getting crazy,” said Ray Pope, a hunter. ”This thing about the government coming to take your guns and stuff like that, that’s a bunch of hoopla, you know? They need to know who got guns. I want them to know who got guns.”

“I think what they need to do first is focus on making our schools safer. I don’t know what a database is going to do,” said Chuck Edwards, a retired police officer. “I think what you’re going to do is infringe on the privacy of a lot of good gun owners.”

Sheriff Grady Judd declined an interview on the topic.

When Townsend proposed his idea to Judd Tuesday during a school board work session, Judd simply replied, “It’s against the law.”

Townsend responded by saying, “Well you just changed the law because you’re a pretty talented guy. I would like you to advocate with us to make Polk County the safest gun ownership community in Florida. Are you wiling to do that?”

Judd replied, “I’m not here to talk about politics today.”

Townsend hoped Judd would work with him to push for changing the law, but whether that will happen remains to be seen.

Hawaii was the first state to enroll firearms owners into a centralized information system. That program started in 2016.

Here's a look at how registration is handled on the Hawaii Police website.