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No guns at the daycare: Lori Berman, Cindy Polo file bills to keep firearms out of child care facilities

Democrats have said changing gun laws will be a top priority this upcoming Session.

“There is no valid reason for a parent or visiting adult to be armed when entering a child care facility.”

That’s the rationale from Sen. Lori Berman as she joins Rep. Cindy Polo in introducing legislation to outlaw the carrying of a gun inside a child care facility.

The Democratic lawmakers filed their bills Monday, ahead of the 2020 Legislative Session.

The measures from Berman (SB 398) and Polo (HB 245) are identical, in that they add child care facilities to the list of places where the carrying of weapons is already barred, regardless of whether the owner has a concealed carry permit.

Other places where those weapons are banned include courthouses, polling places and and prisons.

“In our schools, we protect our children by only allowing guns on campus in the hands of trained personnel,” Berman added. “This same standard should apply here.

“Individuals should not be permitted to enter these facilities with weapons. Common sense dictates that guns should be prohibited in these centers except for trained individuals.”

Under Florida law, a “child care facility” is defined as “any child care center or child care arrangement which provides child care for more than five children unrelated to the operator and which receives a payment, fee, or grant for any of the children receiving care, wherever operated, and whether or not operated for profit.”

That definition does not include schools, summer camps or bible schools.

Democrats have said reforming the state’s gun laws will be a top priority during the 2020 Legislative Session. That’s following a trio of high-profile shootings this summer that left dozens dead.

“As a mother of a toddler, keeping children safe is top priority,” Polo said. “This piece of legislation won’t curb the gun violence epidemic in our state, but it will create a safe space for our little ones.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that children do not fear attending school due to a fear of guns. An intentional or accidental shooting at a preschool is an unthinkable tragedy, and this legislation will help prevent it from becoming a reality.”

Democrats are hoping to court support from Republicans for measures to increase gun regulation in the state.

Democratic lawmakers were unsuccessful in pushing for a Special Session to address gun violence. But they have pushed for multiple measures to be heard during the upcoming Session.

Sen. Gary Farmer put forward a bill to expand the scope of a state law regulating the safe storage of guns. Rep. Tina Polsky is also pushing legislation to increase the regulation of weapon storage.

And Republican state Rep. Mike Caruso has said he’ll back legislation adding gun ownership to a list of removable rights under the state guardianship program. That program allows people deemed incapacitated by a court to have certain rights removed, including applying for a driver’s license, conducting lawsuits, handling money and other issues.

“We will soon be approaching the second anniversary of the horrific shootings in Parkland,” Berman said. “This legislation stops the violence before it can begin.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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