BRADENTON – Bills that would permit certain employees to carry firearms in schools passed committees in both chambers of the Florida Legislature this week, making it more likely that the issue, which failed to see the floor in last year's session, will make it to a vote in 2014.
A Florida House committee approved a proposed bill on Wednesday, which is sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Lakewood Ranch). The bill sets qualifications as to who can be designated to carry a firearm. Those selected would have to hold a concealed weapons permit, complete specialized training and also be former or current military or law enforcement.
The bill would also require school districts to hold active-shooter drills once per year. Local law enforcement agencies would have to review schools every three years to offer suggestions on safety.
Steube's father, Brad, is the Manatee County Sheriff and is on record as strongly opposing such measures.
Earlier this week, a Senate panel passed a similar bill, while hundreds of demonstrators marched on the capitol demanding a repeal of Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law. The bills are only two among many that have already been fast-tracked in this year's legislative process.