Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill to Arm Teachers

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday that would allow teachers to be armed inside the classroom. 

SB 7030, as it’s known, expands the state’s voluntary Guardian Program to include teachers.  Prior to the passage of this bill, only school staffers, coaches, and other personnel whose primary job didn’t involve teaching could carry on school grounds.

Like those other school employees who enlist into the Guardian Program, teachers will need to undergo extensive training (144 hours in total), pass a psychiatric evaluation and clear a drug screening before they are allowed to bear arms.  

The bill also upped funding for mental health services to the tune of $75 million and works to improve communication between districts and authorities as it relates to students exhibiting troubling behavior. 

“I am grateful to Governor DeSantis for signing this comprehensive school safety legislation into law,” said Senate President Bill Galvano, as reported by Florida Politics. “I appreciate the Governor’s full support of and partnership in our ongoing effort to enhance school safety and reduce the possibility that a tragedy like the seventeen lives we lost in Parkland will ever happen again.”

Opponents of the bill slammed DeSantis for signing SB 7030.  

“Governor DeSantis has turned his back on every student and teacher in Florida today, but we will not,” said Gay Valimont, a volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica. 

“We will go district by district to make sure our school boards give our children the protection that lawmakers won’t,” he continued.  “And at the end of the day, we know that our power is in our votes. Lawmakers should rest assured that we intend to use them.”  

Parkland shooting survivor Sari Kaufman also criticized the governor.  

“Now, I’m scared for the next generation of students who will grow up afraid of gun violence in their schools; not just from a shooter, but from the guns that could be carried by their teachers,” said Kaufman, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

New research from the Crime Prevention Research Center indicates that schools that allow teachers to be armed are actually statistically safer than those who do not.  Since 2000, there hasn’t been a single mass shooting in any school that arms teachers. 

The Guardian Program is completely voluntary.  It is up to each individual district to decide if it wants to arm its teachers.  Thirty of Florida’s 67 school districts have opted into the Guardian Program to arm staff members, according to FloridaPoltics.com.  

Cheryl Etters, a spokeswoman for the Florida Dept. of Education, told the website that, “Currently, no districts have indicated to us that they are allowing classroom teachers to participate.”

We’ll see if that changes in the coming weeks and months now that SB 7030 is law.  

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Sly May 11, 2019, 1:56 am

    Tell me what will happen when the police show up and see a person they don’t know holding a gun. The Police Department will not know who the bad guy is if these people are not in uniform. Hire Professional gun slingers who have knowledge of fire Arms. Do you know how many jobs can be made??. I don’t recommend a teacher who is holding a gun approach a Police officer, you will have one more death, Just common sense to those who don’t understand the seriousness of making teachers gun slingers

  • Cristobal Colon May 10, 2019, 12:57 pm

    I am happy to see that Bad people with bad intentions! Will think twice before entering an area that is NOT Gun Free. Because now they will not be able to shoot at sitting Ducks 🦆 in a pond. Now they will be confronted by good citizens who are fed up with their abuses on the innocent 😇. Thank You Governor!!

  • SuperG May 9, 2019, 10:27 am

    Israel had the same problem of school shootings, but it stopped after they armed the teachers. Great job Gov. DeSantis, you’ve actually done something positive for the children in your state.

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