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Bill to Allow Guns in Schools Passes House Subcommittee

April 1, 2014 - 6:00pm

A bill that would arm school officials is speedily making its way through the Florida House of Representatives, where theJustice Appropriations Subcommitteeapproved it by a vote of 8-4.

All four opposing votes came from Democrats.

HB 753, sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would allow local school boards or school principals to designate employees -- typically former or current law enforcement officers -- to carry guns on campus.

If passed, the legislation would require trained officials to complete 40 hours of school safety training as well as eight hours of active shooter training and four hours of firearm proficiency training.

The training programs would be administered by State of Florida Criminal Justice Training Centers across the state.

According to the bill, the State of Florida Criminal Justice Training Center must certify and provide proof of the designee's completion of the trainings in a manner prescribed by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.

All officials would be required to have a concealed carry permit.

The bill has gathered considerable criticism from theFlorida School Board Association. FSBA has said it supports school safety, but allowing guns in schools is shaky ground for the FSBA.

FSBA believes that only highly trained professional law enforcement officers can be entrusted with weaponry on our school grounds, saidschool boardrepresentative Ruth Melton.

Asimilar bill died this week in its journey through the Senate. According to the St. Augustine Record,Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, who sponsored the bill, said he was told in a private meeting with Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Lutz, that the legislation wouldnt be heard this year.

When the committee chairman doesnt want to hear the bill, its toast, said Hays.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen atAllison@sunshinestatenews.comor follow her on Twitter at@AllisonNielsen.

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