FL Senate gives tentative approval to bill including arming some teachers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- The Florida State Senate is giving tentative approval to legislation that would expand the state's school safety program, including a measure that would allow classroom teachers to carry a gun.

State Democrats attempted to add more than two dozen amendments, one of which would have removed the language that would allow teachers to be armed.

Their attempts failed, facing heavy opposition from Republican lawmakers like North Central Florida Senator Dennis Baxley.

"The mere presence of the message that says someone already here is prepared to act if something goes wrong, that's the power," Baxley said. "It's not having everybody armed. No educator is being asked to be armed."

Senator Perry Thurston (D), who sponsored the amendment, hopes Republicans will have a change of heart before the bill comes to a final vote.

"I think that we raised enough issues where the teachers will be concerned about it," Thurston said. "Being targeted for the weapons, not getting any additional compensation for this. I just think it's unnecessary, the current system is working."

The legislation will likely come up for a final vote early next week. The Florida House has also not voted on the bill.