Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: More guns in schools isn't the answer

The answer to gun violence in schools is not more guns in schools. But that's the wrongheaded approach some officials are taking in Tallahassee and Hillsborough County, proposing to put armed guards in elementary schools and assigning teachers to carry concealed weapons on the campuses. These are risky, costly, knee-jerk reactions that only put more innocents in harm's way.

The education subcommittee of the Florida House approved a bill this week that would allow school principals to designate an employee to carry a concealed weapon on the campus. While principals would decide whether to appoint an armed staffer, minimally trained employees at public and private schools could roam around packing heat while carrying out their usual work routines.

The bill, HB 1097, sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has met with resistance from parents, school boards and the teachers' union — for all the right reasons. It could bring a flood of firearms onto campuses, without any protocol for bringing the one armed staff member — or the six, or 15 or 30, or however many the principal appoints — under any form of central control. And firearms that are inevitably lost or stolen present a new threat to students and the general public.

A security consultant hired by the Hillsborough County School Board also recommended that the county hire armed guards for elementary schools. Sheriff's deputies and police already staff middle schools and high schools; the argument here is that armed guards at elementary campuses would address threats ranging from a potential shooter to an irate parent.

The school district doesn't need armed guards to referee the problem parent who routinely comes to the door. That would be heavy-handed, and there is no safety gap between schools. There are fundamental differences in the security issues at middle and high schools that distinguish them from elementary schools.

The district has better uses for the $4 million it would cost every year to put armed guards in elementary schools. If it wants to spend that money on security, it should explore broad-based solutions in partnership with a task force Hillsborough County is forming to examine a comprehensive approach to gun violence. More outreach and counseling to at-risk populations, hardening of the school campuses and new controls on the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines offer a greater return and more lasting parental comfort.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

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Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

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Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

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Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

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Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18