Florida lawmaker says end gun ban in schools to protect the children
By Kimberly Wiggins, Reporter
The shooting in Connecticut has one local lawmaker thinking of changing the law to better protect children at school.
"We are all stunned," said State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala). "We are shocked. We are horrified that our little tiny children would be at such risk."
It's a risk that Baxley said could be alleviated.
"Even in that case in Connecticut," said Baxley. "You've got six staff members rushing towards the danger, but they have no way to protect themselves."
The father of five and grandfather of eight said that ending the ban on guns in schools, and allowing principals and teachers to carry guns to school would make Florida schools safer. Baxley added that he's open to having this discussion next year with colleagues, but not right now.
"We need to let these families grieve," said Baxley. "There's an appropriate time to have this political discourse, but it's premature right now. I'm not advocating any specific change, but I did make the observation that in our meaningful effort to try to protect children with gun-free zones we have unintentionally created a sterile target for this type of activity."
However, some school leaders disagree with Baxley.
Andrea Alford is the Director of security for Brevard County School District. She said that arming administrators will only make things worse.
"Principals are educators," said Alford. "The people that carry guns to protect our society are trained to carry guns, so no; Principals shouldn't have that responsibility."
But Baxley argues that sometimes the responsibility of school leaders could include unexpectedly needing to protect yourself and those around you. The Ocala Republican sponsored the state's "stand your ground" law, and said he believes that the people of Florida would do the right thing in dangerous situations.
"You may have a lot of people trying to claim that, but it isn't going to work," Baxley said.
Baxley also told Fox35 that he doesn't plan to introduce a bill himself because he is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and that could be a conflict of interest.