The Florida House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday approved Bill 7026 [text], the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act,” 67-50 [roll call] in order to to provide stricter guidelines on firearms safety. The bill, approved [JURIST report] by the Florida Senate on Monday, states that the intended purpose of the legislation is to, “reduce deaths and injuries as a result of certain individuals’ use of firearms while respecting constitutional rights.”
If Governor Rick Scott [official website] signs off on the bill, there will be a variety of revisions that become law. Sheriffs in each of Florida’s 67 counties will be granted discretion in implementing a “Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program,” which enables teachers who meet an extensive list of requirements to be armed in schools. These requirements include requiring teachers to undergo eighty hours of firearm instruction with an eighty-five percent pass rate, eight hours of instruction in active shooter or assailant scenarios, eight hours of instruction in defensive tactics, twelve hours of instruction in legal issues, pass a psychological evaluation, submit and pass a drug test, and complete ongoing training. Those who participate in the program will be labeled “school guardians” without arrest powers, rather than “school marshals” as seen as before.
Other sections of the bill address the hiring of retired law enforcement officers by schools, the creation of community action treatment teams across the state to provide behavioral health and support services to children, prohibiting anyone who has been admitted to a mental health institution from owning a gun, restricting any sales of firearms to those 21 or younger, prohibiting anyone under the age of 21 to own a firearm, banning bump-stocks, and a wide variety of other restrictions. Florida is just one of several states [JURIST report] who have sought stricter firearm regulation recently.