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Florida House of Representatives committee approves armed teachers bill

By Andrew V. Pestano
Florida House of Representatives committee approves armed teachers bill
Rep. Gregory W. Steube, R-Sarasota, who first introduced the bill in 2013, meets with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, center, and Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk County. Photo Courtesy Florida House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- The Florida House of Representatives K-12 Education Subcommittee approved a bill on Wednesday that will allow teachers to be armed, possibly becoming the tenth state to formally enact such a law.

Florida Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, first introduced the bill in 2013 soon after the Newtown, Conn., Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, where 20 children and 6 adult school staff were killed.

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The previous bill passed the Florida House of Representatives in 2014, but got stuck in the Senate, according to the Miami Herald. The current bill may undergo the same fate.

Florida Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, supported the bill.

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"It would allow for a tremendous peace of mind for parents to know that there is somebody at the school site who is trained and can actually be there to respond if, God forbid, one of these events happened," he said.

Florida Rep. Joe Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, the only House member to vote no, said he would rather see trained police officers assigned to schools in Florida.

"I don't think an American Sniper approach is the way to protect our kids," he said.

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Steube's latest bill won the support of the Florida House K-12 Education Subcommittee and Florida Sheriffs Association on Wednesday.

States that have enacted laws allowing teachers to carry guns include Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. At least 33 states introduced more than 80 bills relating to arming teachers and school staff in 2013.

Colorado and Georgia passed similar legislation last year.

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Legislatures in 10 states are debating whether guns should be allowed on the grounds of public and private colleges and universities. About 41 states currently ban concealed weapons on campus.

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