We have to STOP our legislators from allowing teachers to carry firearms

Before I tell you what's happening, I want to let you know about all the work we have done so far (as of 2/26/18):

  • Called attention to hidden gun language in the Agriculture Appropriation bill that ultimately led to its defeat;
  • Conducted research and put together a list of 24 A and A+ rated NRA politicians that have no opposition. A list that the progressive group Run For Something used to take out a full-page ad in the Sun Sentinel;
  • Collected over 1,500 petitions in the last 48 hours to call for Universal Background Checkswhich is the most effective thing we can do, but is not included in Governor Scott's proposal or any of the bills sponsored by the Republicans.
  • And joined the Women's March, the Broward Democrats, and Mayor Phil Levine to mobilize and organize 1,000 people to come up to Tallahassee;

Now, where are we? Forget all the other gun bills we were working to defeat. They've all been thrown together into new mega gun bill called SPB 7026.

Bad: "Public Safety"; SPB 7026

First, here's what it DOES NOT include: universal background checks, a ban on semiautomatic rifles like the AR15, or a ban on high capacity magazines. It has a few good things with a lot of loopholes. The current bill includes:

  • a ban on selling bump stocks, but does not ban possessing bump stocks, so you can just purchase them online instead of a licensed dealer;
  • raises the age limit to purchase rifles to 21. However, two big loopholes. First, the bill doesn't include universal background checks. This means a 19 year old can still purchase an AR15 if it’s a private sale. Around 20% of all firearms are purchased this way. Second, a 19 year old can still own a rifle. They just can't purchase it. So they can get a straw buyer or receive it as a gift;
  • creates red flag laws that confiscate weapons from mentally unstable individuals. That’s important, and works if police can provide clear and convincing evidence to obtain the court order;
  • the majority of the bill focuses on providing resources to schools in the form of mental health counselors, school resource officers, and "school hardening" which is a euphemism for turning a campus into a prison-like environment that includes bullet-proof windows, metal detectors, and steel reinforced doors.
    • Essentially, this language assumes that we will continue living in the tragic reality of easy access to AR15s and other deadly weapons. A world full of bullet proof glass, metal detectors, and steel reinforced doors. First our schools, then our movie theaters, concerts and churches.
  • WORST PART: the bill allows the school districts and sheriffs to enter into an agreement to train teachers to carry firearms. Polk County is already piloting this program. This is an NRA-backed idea that promotes the “good guy with a gun” fantasy. Unfortunately, kids are being put in more danger! Dozens of kids and adults die everyday from misuse of legally owned handguns. In a world where police kill unarmed black and brown kids because they’re afraid of them, now we are asking teachers to make constant threat assessments and make judgement calls on whether a kid is a threat. Not to mention that Broward deputies were afraid to confront the gunman with an AR15, now we are asking the math teacher to shoot them down? The Senators kept saying this is a “voluntary” program. Perhaps for a teacher. But it is not voluntary for the students who will attend class with a teacher carrying a firearm. This program is called the Marshall program.

This bill is one step forward and ten steps back. It’s not only “not perfect,” it’s dangerous!

Last Action: The Senate Rules Committee just passed this bill 9-4 (with two Democrats voting in favor: Lauren Book and Bill Montford). It will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday 2/27 at 11am. It will then hit the Senate floor. Unclear when the House will take on the bill. If this passes Appropriations with the Marshall program (arming teachers) then it will likely become law.

Decision Makers: Senate Appropriations Committee; members are listed below;

Contact Information  for members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee

Chair: Senator Rob Bradley (R)

(850) 487-5005; bradley.rob@flsenate.gov

Senator Lauren Book (D)

(850) 487-5032; book.lauren@flsenate.gov

 Vice Chair: Senator Anitere Flores (R)

(850) 487-5039; flores.anitere@flsenate.gov

 Senator Randolph Bracy (D)

(850) 487-5011; racy.randolph@flsenate.gov

Senator Dennis Baxley (R)

(850) 487-5012; baxley.dennis@flsenate.gov

 Senator Oscar Braynon II (D)

(850) 487-5035; braynon.oscar@flsenate.gov

Senator Aaron Bean (R)

(850) 487-5004; bean.aaron@flsenate.gov

 Senator Audrey Gibson (D)

(850) 487-5006; gibson.audrey@flsenate.gov

Senator David Simmons (R)

(850) 487-5009; immons.david@flsenate.gov

Senator Bill Montford (D)

(850) 487-5003; montford.bill@flsenate.gov

Senator Jeff Brandes (R)

(850) 487-5024; brandes.jeff@flsenate.gov

Senator Bobby Powell (D)

(850) 487-5030; powell.bobby@flsenate.gov

 Senator George B. Gainer (R)

(850) 487-5002; gainer.george@flsenate.gov

 Senator Linda Stewart (D)

(850) 487-5013; stewart.linda@flsenate.gov

Senator Bill Galvano (R)

(850) 487-5021; galvano.bill@flsenate.gov

Senator Wilton Simpson (R)

(850) 487-5010; impson.wilton@flsenate.gov

Senator Denise Grimsley (R)

(850) 487-5026; rimsley.denise@flsenate.gov

Senator Kelli Stargel (R)

(850) 487-5022; stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov

Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R)

(850) 487-5028; passidomo.kathleen@flsenate.gov

Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)

(850) 487-5027; benacquisto.lizbeth@flsenate.gov

Senator Greg Steube

(850) 487-5023; steube.greg@flsenate.gov

Senator Rob Bradley

(850) 487-5005; bradley.rob@flsenate.gov

Senator Rene Garcia
(850) 487-5036; garcia.rene@flsenate.gov

Senator Debbie Mayfield
(850) 487-5017; mayfield.debbie@flsenate.gov

Senator Perry Thurston
(850) 487-5033; thurston.perry@flsenate.gov


You can also look up who your Representative is by going here