A day after 17 people were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Republican Sen. Greg Steube scheduled a hearing for a gun bill he is co-sponsoring that would allow school officials to designate certain people to carry concealed weapons on campus.
School principals and school district superintendents would be able to choose one or more people to bring concealed weapons to campus for security measures if they go through a criminal background check and training.
Under the bill (SB 1236) filed by Sen. Dennis Baxley, the designee is not required to undergo a mental health evaluation, an issue that took center stage in the Senate in the wake of the mass shooting.
Senate President Joe Negron on Thursday said his focus is on boosting funding for mental health services and counseling at schools as well as campus security.
“In general, President Negron supports increased funding and resources for local school boards to enhance security in our schools,” said Katie Betta, a Senate spokeswoman. “This includes a local option to utilizing specially-trained school personnel to enhance security and keep our students safe.”
Betta, though, said that did not mean Negron was backing the bill. Negron’s top two lieutenants, Sens. Bill Galvano and Wilton Simpson, however, are opposed to the bill moving forward, according to POLITICO Florida.
The bill is up for consideration next Tuesday in Senate Judiciary, which has blocked gun legislation in the past because of two deciding Republican votes: Rene Garcia and Anitere Flores. Most recently the two Miami Republicans were wary of another gun bill sponsored by Baxley, which would in certain cases allow guns in religious institution with schools attached to them.
A companion bill in the House, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Bob Rommel, is in its second of three committee stops before it can hit the full floor.