March 19, 2018
The Florida state legislature has passed, and Governor Rick Scott has signed into law Senate Bill 7026, also known as the "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act." Quite simply, they put the politics of the day ahead of good policy, ahead of expert advice, ahead of common sense, and ahead of the children's lives. It was more important for them to stick a finger in the NRA's eye in front of TV cameras than make their schools safer.
In the wake of 17 dead, including 14 children in the Parkland school, it's hard to imagine anyone being that calloused and non-caring. This is a perfect example of why politicians are so hated in this country. Doing what they think protects their political career, no matter who else gets hurt, while pretending to help the children they are happy to sacrifice. I can think of nothing more vile in an educated adult.
Let us examine what the Florida Legislators did.
They enacted gun control. Does anyone think the person who plans to murder many people, especially kids cares about the law!? The person this deranged or full of rage will do what ever it takes to make others feel their pain. Can't buy a gun? They will steal them, or run them over with a vehicle, or pour gas on them and light them on fire. The crime is murder. The tool is not the important piece.
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Gun control has been tried in various ways, in various states, in various countries. The uniform result is more deaths. It is unlikely that one who is stupid or insane rises to the level of Speaker of the House, Senate President, or Governor. That leaves evil as the most likely motive.
Prior to the Parkland massacre, Florida Carry reached out to us about conducting a FASTER Saves Lives class in Florida. They introduced us to a sheriff who was willing to host the training event. After the killing, a second sheriff was also interested and several schools were willing to participate. We were in discussions to do a class in Florida and train school staff and law enforcement and share the program with law-enforcement trainers who would then continue training people in Florida.
There are thousands of man years' experience no invested in the FASTER Saves Lives program or other armed staff programs around the country. This is not a new concept, it is a proven one. The "sign on the door" "no guns" policy and gun control theory also has lots of experience. They also have one thing that schools with armed staff don't have; hundreds of dead bodies. Choose one.
Rather than copy a proven idea, the Florida legislature copied a failed one. In the wake of law-enforcement failures, they gave law enforcement more power. Schools now must beg for permission from law enforcement to enact best practice policies. They also mandated well over 130 hours of training for school staff to carry a firearm. Their training requirements make clear they have no idea what is needed to stop an active killer.
In short, they banned their schools and law-enforcement from working with the best program and trainers in the country, and put in requirements that all but prohibit safer schools.
Over the past five years I have worked with many other state legislators on the topic of armed school staff. Several states have ignored our advice and passed similar (though none so drastic as Florida) training requirements. It has not worked well. One legislator called me back to tell me, "We should have listened to you. It went exactly like you said and we have not trained or authorized anyone. Can you send me Ohio law again?"
Florida never sought out our advice, but knowing what they were discussing I sent information to Senate President Joe Negron (R), Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) and Governor Rick Scott (R). None returned my emails or phone calls. They don't want to learn. They don't want to implement good law. They don't even care about the dead kids.
They did commit to spend $400,000,000.00 making schools "more secure." Great. Let us suppose they hired federally-trained TSA agents at every school and every child, parent and teacher had to go through airport-style security to enter the school. (I know this is financially and mathematically impossible, but play along.) Does anyone know of someone having flown, gotten to their destination and discovered a prohibited device that TSA missed in the screening? (Stop laughing) The point is even at this level of security, it does not keep guns out of schools, or make them "safe" or "secure." It's not possible.
Ironically, they could have spent some money on trauma training and equipment, but chose not to spend even one dime on something that has proven to save lives.
Overall, they are spending a huge amount of money to make schools less safe. They prohibit best practice while spending resources on things that can't possibly help solve the problem. And the "leaders" who did this are all Republicans.
They did all get media time though. That is what is important to them. Ignore the experts, pretend to care, make friends with anti-freedom zealots, and to hell with the kids or their families. That is the legacy of Florida legislature.
Just remember, this was not a mistake. It is something they though about, planned and are proud of. This is who they are. Don't forget it when the next killer comes for your kids.
Jim Irvine is Board President of Buckeye Firearms Association. He is also recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award," the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award," and the SAF's 2015 "Defender of Freedom Award."