Joe Henderson: More guns in Florida schools? Lawmakers say that’s the answer

School Supplies and Handgun
Sure, educators throughout the state oppose this, but Tallahassee knows best because, well, because.

The pistol-packers in the Florida Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday that will allow sheriff-trained “teacher-guardian” volunteers to carry loaded guns in schools.

They must be so proud of themselves because, as we know, guns are the answer to almost anything.

It wasn’t enough to have professional law officers on guard duty at schools throughout the state.

No way. Tallahassee paved the way to put your fifth-period history instructor right there beside them, at least in those districts that don’t opt out of the program.

Meanwhile, the good people at Weightman Middle School in Wesley Chapel had an exciting time just the day before while lawmakers debated this contentious bill.

The firearm of a trained school resource officer accidentally discharged Tuesday in the cafeteria when the person leaned against a wall. WFTS-TV in Tampa reported the gun was a Sig Sauer 9mm with no safety mechanism.

Lt. Troy Ferguson explained, “… they are carried ready to use.

The gun was in the officer’s holster at the time, and the bullet hit a wall. Nearby students were having lunch. One student reportedly was so startled she dropped her tray.

Let us repeat: This was a trained, professional officer on routine lunchroom duty. Apparently, all that happened was the officer leaned against a wall, causing the gun to fire.

And the legislators who voted in favor of the “teacher-guardian” program believe having MORE guns in schools is a good idea?

They remain under the delusion that a teacher, even one who had the training, will stay cool and save the day in an emergency. These people have either watched too many Bruce Willis movies or have gotten drunk on NRA Kool-Aid.

Will the teacher-guardian be wearing a holster with a visible weapon during class? That wouldn’t be distracting at all while students are trying to grasp the Pythagorean theorem, would it?

Oh, they’ll keep the gun locked in their desk? Hope they can find the key in all the panic. Worse, I hope they don’t lose the key. I hope an enterprising student doesn’t pick the lock while the teacher is out of the room.

But the gun lobby has answers for everything, doesn’t it? There will be sufficient safeguards before any instructor takes a gun onto school property, it will say. The training will be rigorous.

Of course, it will. That will solve everything.

And – say it out loud – the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is, oh, you know.

Teachers across the state, who actually are in the schools, oppose this.

Kids and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland tried to stop this. They know a little bit more about active shooter situations than the armchair Rambos in Tallahassee.

The nation’s two-largest education unions think it’s a bad idea. Studies have shown that even highly trained officers miss the target more often than not in shootouts. The accuracy rate drops off at longer ranges.

But Tallahassee knows best because, well, because.

At least the bullet accidentally fired in the school cafeteria didn’t ricochet off the wall and strike a student or teacher. Even if it had, though, I think I know what the response would have been.

After offering thoughts and prayers, Republicans would have blamed the wall.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Pedro

    May 1, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    It takes 6 trained officers to shoot a single armed man confined in a vehicle, it should be a piece of cake for a “trained” teacher-guardian to take out a mad-man armed with an AR-16, that is what Republicans want us to believe. Rather than stand up to the gun lobby they instead come up with cowardly efforts to fix this epidemic infesting america today.

    • Andrew

      May 1, 2019 at 11:28 pm

      So it took 6 officers to take down a bogey with a gun and your solution is to make sure the most guns the school has to fight the next school shooter is 1 or 2? Solid logic there.

  • VintageVNvet

    May 2, 2019 at 9:53 am

    1. The epidemic of innocent folks being shot or otherwise harmed by fanatics and other lunatics and sociopaths is currently happening world wide, and in almost all cases is dependent on the perpetrator knowing with full confidence that little resistance will occur; formerly, this was known as, ”shooting fish in a barrel” to emphasize how easy it is.
    2. It really should not matter how many teachers or other types of responsible adults are actually armed; what matters is that all of these nut cases, and let’s be clear that however they got there, nut cases is what people really are to kill innocent folks of any kind, WILL NOT KNOW how many ”good guys with guns” (guys now meaning people of any gender, etc) MIGHT be armed appropriately and willing and able to shoot back.
    3. Going to high school in SW Florida in the late 1950s -early 1960s era, almost all the guys with vehicles at school had a gun in that vehicle during hunting season, and some all the time because of the need to remove vermin from the groves and fields. Far as I know, NOT ONE shooting event ever. And, similarly, one shop teacher, a decorated Marine Veteran of WW2 usually/frequently had a small automatic in his pocket and nobody ever complained.
    4. My mom could put six in the black from 40 feet or so EVERY time, and her .38 was always right under her pillow when dad was out of town, and she made sure everyone in town knew it; she also taught all of her kids all of the rules for using guns before they were 10. Those of us who wanted one usually received a single shot .22 for our next birthday. NOT ONE single inappropriate gun even in over 60 years since.
    5. Unless and until the entire correlation between these tragic events and the consumption of synthetic pharmaceuticals and their side effects is made completely transparent and steps are taken to ensure that the prescribers and suppliers of these drugs are held to account, IMO after studying the biochemical, physiological, and social results on humans, at least the events based on these drugs will continue.

  • Sandy Oestreich, ARNP

    May 3, 2019 at 12:09 pm


  • Ken Moffatt

    May 4, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Just because someone supports armed teachers don’t mean they a gun lobbyist unless you are a liberal (lack of education).
    I asked one of the legislature’s why they just couldn’t say teachers may be armed and leave it at that
    Lack of knowledge rather than a gun free zone would be a deturrence.i was told you can’t
    Some of not all counties in Texas do with signs at schools that say teachers may be armed

Comments are closed.


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