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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Guns in school back on Florida's political landscape



A year ago, amid national calls for more gun controls after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Florida state Rep. Greg Steube filed a bill to allow teachers to be armed in schools.

The bill failed in the Senate. The clamor for controls died down. And now Steube has filed his bill (HB 753) again.

The stated intent: "To prevent violent crimes from occurring on school grounds." Of course, gun control backers have questioned whether arming teachers will have the desired effect. Teachers groups also have opposed the idea.

Steube has noted in the bill that the goal is "not to mandate that a school have one or more designees as described in the amendments made by this act to s. 790.115, Florida Statutes; rather, the intent of the amendments is to allow the school principal or authorizing superintendent the opportunity to do so."

There is no companion bill yet in the Senate.

The House has another school gun-related bill on tap, as well. This one would seek to decriminalize faux guns on school grounds. It's based on a Maryland bill (never passed) that was sometimes referred to as the "Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act." (Here's why.)

The Florida bill, proposed by the House K-12 Subcommittee, speaks for itself. Here's a taste:

Simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or weapon or express an opinion regarding a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is not grounds for disciplinary action or referral to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system under this section or s. 1006.13. Simulating a firearm or weapon while playing includes, but is not limited to:
1. Brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm or weapon.
2. Possessing a toy firearm or weapon that is 2 inches or less in overall length.
3. Possessing a toy firearm or weapon made of plastic snap-together building blocks.
4. Using a finger or hand to simulate a firearm or weapon.
5. Vocalizing an imaginary firearm or weapon.
6. Drawing a picture, or possessing an image, of a firearm or weapon.
7. Using a pencil, pen, or other writing or drawing utensil to simulate a firearm or weapon.

The committee is set to introduce this bill on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

[Last modified: Friday, January 31, 2014 6:51am]


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