Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: More guns at schools not the answer

Keeping children safe on school grounds should be a priority for educators, law enforcement and the entire community. But a plan before the Legislature to arm school employees and volunteers is not the answer. Adding more guns to schools gives an illusion of safety while exponentially increasing the chance of accidents. There are better ways to improve safety than to arm more people in buildings where there should be no firearms at all.

It's the second time since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre that Florida lawmakers have proposed allowing school principals or superintendents the discretion to grant certain employees or volunteers the right to carry guns on campus or in district administration offices.

Under SB 968, those allowed to carry guns would have to be current or former members of the military, National Guard members or reservists with no disciplinary actions related to firearms in their files. Current or former law enforcement officers with clean personnel records would also be eligible. The designees would have to attend a 40-hour school safety program and complete active shooter and firearm training. A House version of the bill, HB 968, contains much of the same language, though it expands the list of those who could be granted permission to carry guns on campus to any school district employee or volunteer who has passed a background screening after they completed training and have a valid concealed carry permit. Do we really want to arm English teachers?

The training required in the bills does not come close to approaching that required of active duty law enforcement officers. Adding more firearms inside schools would only increase the odds that tense situations could escalate into gunfire or accidents — such as a misplaced or dislodged weapon — and could turn deadly. It does not take much imagination for anyone who has recently visited a school campus to envision what could go wrong.

Yet House and Senate committees approved versions of their bills last week even as those closest to the risk — parent groups, school boards and the statewide teachers union — all voiced opposition. Seeking to protect schools is a shared desire, and some of the new security measures implemented by many school districts since Sandy Hook have been wise. But just putting more guns on campus in the hands of employees who have other responsibilities, or volunteers who may not have worked with children or have law enforcement training, would create more risk, not less. It's time legislators stood for common sense instead of for the National Rifle Association.

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Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18