Timing is everything. Or as George Tucker put it, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
“Parkland happened while we were in session, and I think there were a lot of members who felt like we had to do something from a political perspective based on the emotion of the time,” said Greg Steube, a Sarasota lawmaker who spent years in the Legislature before his November election to Congress. “If that shooting would have occurred when we weren’t in session, I don’t think you would have seen that type of bill passed. It was shoved through.”
Ironically, this year’s proposal to arm willing classroom teachers is the type of legislation that Steube tried for years to pass without success. Now, the idea is one of many recommended by a bipartisan panel created last year to investigate the Parkland shooting and prevent future incidents.
It’s also the type of proposal that gun-safety groups are fighting at the highest levels. In the same way that Florida further validated calls last year to ban bump stocks and create “red flag” laws allowing a judge to take guns away from someone with mental health issues, the Legislature could turn around this year and endorse President Donald Trump’s call to fight school shootings by giving teachers guns.
“I just don’t think that [gun-free zones] should be the law of Florida,” said Steube. “I don’t think people want to be sitting ducks waiting for law enforcement to show up and save them.”