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More Than Half of Floridians Approve of Guns in Schools

October 18, 2016 - 2:00pm

Most Floridians say they support trained staff carrying firearms on school campuses, according to a new survey released Tuesday. 

The 2016 University of South Florida Sunshine State Survey found more than half of adult Floridians (56 percent) are in favor of allowing trained staff to carry firearms at schools.

Forty percent of Floridians say they are opposed to allowing firearms in schools, with 29 percent saying they are strongly opposed to the idea.

“Stronger supporters are males, working-age residents, whites, those living in affluent households, college graduates, and residents of the Orlando and North Florida areas,” the USF release said. Residents of the Orlando and North Florida areas are more likely to favor the idea.

Opposition comes from females, older Floridians, African-Americans, lower-income households, those with less formal education and residents of the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area.

The issue of allowing guns into schools has been a hot-button topic in Florida. State representatives have tried for years to allow firearms on school campuses, whether on college campuses or in elementary and secondary schools. 

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, proposed a bill earlier this year to allow trained staff to allow concealed carry in kindergarten through 12th grade school facilities.
In 2015, Steube introduced a proposal which would have allowed for the superintendents of school districts to authorize “school safety designees” to carry guns on elementary school and secondary school campus grounds. Not everyone would have been able to qualify as a designee -- only those who passed level two background checks  and met specific training requirements dictated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would have been able to be designees.

The bill weaved its way through the Florida House during the 2015 legislative session, but its path was not as smooth in the Florida Senate, where it died in the Education Pre-K through 12 subcommittee. 

Steube’s proposal raised questions on whether schools are truly a safe zone for children and staffers. In 2012, a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut left many wondering what would have happened had there been armed staff on campus.

Florida gun groups say they are onboard with training school staff to respond to violence at schools.

Sean Caranna of Florida Carry told Sunshine State News his group is working to bring the FASTER (Faculty / Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response) program to Florida. The FASTER program is a 26-hour hands-on training program which would supply trained staff with firearms and medical treatment to schools. The program is already being instituted in Ohio.

“I expect that we will have more details about when and where it will be piloted in Florida in coming months,” Caranna told SSN.


To see the full poll results, click here


Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen



You all know we used to not have an outright ban on guns in school right? And, ya know that we didn't have rampant mass shootings then either right? In fact, the first school massacre wasn't even committed with a gun but with a bomb. Clearly, America doesn't have a gun problem, it has a people problem.

You all know we used to not have an outright ban on guns in school right? And, ya know that we didn't have rampant mass shootings then either right? In fact, the first school massacre wasn't even committed with a gun but with a bomb. Clearly, America doesn't have a gun problem, it has a people problem.

Cut the State in half (just above Tampa's northern border) and create the STATE of "South Florida", and EVERYBODY'S problems will be solved ! ("Government corruption", both State and Local will stay, and reside, almost wholly in the "South Florida" area it "breeds" in...)

I agree, get rid of South Florida and we will be a happy state.

And just how well are those Chicago oppressive gun laws saving lives ... in the murder capital of our country?

This is just asking for dead students.

I became a teacher after I retired from over 20 years as a firefighter and paramedic, where I spent part of my career working with the SWAT team. I spent years as an IDPA competitor, and I am a military veteran. I have carried a concealed weapon for more than 25 years. A permit that has allowed me to carry a weapon into McDonald's, Disney, public parks, streets and sidewalks. Not once have I used that weapon in a threatening or illegal manner. I have not even had a traffic ticket in more than a decade. I have spent more than 30 years wearing one uniform or another, defending the people who could not defend themselves, saving lives, and helping others. In that time, I have had dozens of background checks for security clearances, teaching, firefighting, and paramedic licenses, as well as for concealed weapons permits. Again and again over the past three decades, I have proven my character, my devotion, and my trustworthiness. I would, if necessary, lay down my life in defense of the children that have been placed in my care. Even in Kindergarten. Possibly YOUR children, if you are reading this. Except the politicians have declared that I am not permitted to do so, because they don't trust me. So instead, I must sit in the dark, unarmed, unable to protect those children, hiding and waiting for help that may not come, wait with your children to die at the hands of a madman who didn't obey your laws or your signs.

I'm in the same boat. I'm employed full time by a school system here in N.C. and our county doesn't provide SRO's for elementary schools. I'm former military police and have carried a weapon for years without any type of incident. I have the training and the capability to protect the children in my charge, but I'm disarmed by political correctness. We are in a rural setting where the nearest law enforcement officer may be a long way from our school if something bad happens. An armed defender(s) on site could save many lives. Under the increasing threat of terroristic activities in America, training and arming school personnel seems to be a common sense approach for the safety of our children.

Really? Are your teachers and staffs made up of homicidal maniacs who will gun down the students for cutting the cafeteria line? The idea of trained, armed staff to protect the kids is the real solution to the threat of school mass shootings.

Fools, all. And at the expense of our kids.... Most probably don't have kids in schools.

Guns other than School Resource Officers in our schools is Nuts!

Well "John", the existing 'concept' of "School Resource Officers" has ALWAYS been "Nuts", and an ongoing waste of Law Enforcement resources... The "SRO's" are a prime example of "Momism" run amok ! Count the public schools in all of Florida,...that's how many trained Law Enforcement Officers are being wasted under the "Momism mandate" EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL DAY ! (Imagine putting our Military members, INDIVIDUALLY, in EVERY single village and town in the Middle East to forstall agression and murder...Stupid huh?!? Let's just hope Obama doesn't read "SSN" articles and comments and see a potential "battle plan" in THERE... Then again, maybe does...)

In any spree shooting event, the critical factor in saving lives is the time it takes to get armed opposition to the shooter. Twenty-six died at Sandy Hook, despite LE being on scene in a well-below average four and a half minutes. In a multiple person attack, a single SRO is insufficient. Awaiting backup again adds minutes, and the victim count increases every second the shooter remains unengaged. We've seen the carnage with gun free zones again and again. How many more innocents must we sacrifice to the misgiven ideology of ineffective gun control?

“How many more innocents must we sacrifice to the misgiven ideology of ineffective gun control?” Whuh? The dead kids at Sandy Hook were “sacrificed” to the worship of high-capacity semi-automatic weapons, and the ‘right’ of civilians to own one. Or two or twelve. And plenty of extra magazines. The issue is that our current gun control regimen effectively allows anyone, anywhere, including a mentally ill person such as Adam Lanza or Seung-hui Cho, access to personal firepower equivalent to an entire company of Revolutionary War soldiers. The mere fact that one unhinged citizen can instantly unleash that degree of lethality on dozens of people is the problem. It is not that we are somehow preventing vigilantes like you from having a chance to act out their highly unlikely hero fantasies. The risks? In 2016 alone there have been 5 incidents involving licensed gun toters at schools: 16 Feb 2016 — Homosassa, FL — Roy Caffera lost his Ruger automatic through a hole in his cargo pants at his child’s elementary school. It was given to the school janitor, who fired the weapon into the ground, thinking it was a toy BB gun. Police reported that Caffera had a concealed carry permit. 29 Apr 2016 — Charleston, WV — Lloyd Simms was sitting poolside at his child’s swimming lesson at the University of Charleston, when the .40 semi-auto he was carrying in his back pocket fired into the deck, about 2 feet away from another parent. Simms has since been banned permanently from the campus. Simms had a concealed handgun permit. 15 May 2016 — Augusta, KS — A man attending an outdoor high school graduation ceremony accidentally fired the .380 auto he had concealed in his sock. The bullet travelled through the man’s foot, ricocheted, then lodged in the leg of a bystander 50 feet away. Police reported that the man had a concealed carry permit. 25 Aug 2016 — Chabersgurg, PA — Beth Jean Dixon, 63, a teacher at Cumberland Christian School, accidentally left her holstered handgun sitting on the toilet tank in a school bathroom. Several children had access to the weapon before it was recovered. Dixon faces charges including reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children. Officials said the teacher had a license to carry. 14 Sep 2016 — Stephenville, TX — an unnamed student accidentally fired his weapon in Integrity Hall, on the campus of Tarletan State University. Authorities reported the student was a licensed concealed weapon carrier.

The plural of anecdote is not data. However, using your logic, we should disarm cops, not concealed carriers. Look at your anecdotes: there was one shooting involving a concealed carry permit holder in Florida- which is the state we are discussing- in a year, despite the fact that there are over 1.6 people licensed to carry a concealed firearm. This same year, police shot at least four people in Florida. The one common thread in all of your anecdotes was that the carrier was not using a holster. As a teacher, I would have no problem with a rule requiring a retention holster that would prevent anyone other than the wearer from drawing the weapon.

I meant to say 1.6 million people are licensed to carry concealed firearms...

Law abiding citizens don't go around committing these crimes. Adam Lanza did not obtain the weapon legally. He killed his mother and stole it.

5 incidents, two injuries, and only one of those to someone other than the carrier. This with 15 million concealed carry permits in the nation. In one year, about 30 children drown in 5 gallon buckets. Your sense of danger is seriously insane.

How much more should common sense sacrifice to the "misgiven" ideology that guns everywhere is the solution to fear mongering?

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