Steube's bill to arm teachers clears first hurdle

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TALLAHASSEE - A Suncoast lawmaker's controversial bill passed its first test on Wednesday. House Bill 1097 was approved by the House K-12 Education Subcommittee, a group made up of Democrats and Republicans. 

If passed, Representative Greg Steube's bill would grant principals the right to allow other school employees to carry concealed firearms on campus. However, those employees must go through extensive training and several background checks before getting the green light to do so. If passed, the law would not be mandatory, but would give the principals the option of allowing employees to have the firearms.

"I think it is important that we do everything we can to ensure the safety of our children. Obviously, they are one of the most vulnerable parts of the population," Steube said over the phone Wednesday night.

Curt Lavarello does not see eye to eye with the Representative on the matter. The Executive Director of the School Safety Advocacy Council says, the bill "defies logic."

"I don't think there was a whole lot of thought put into this bill. If one sits back and thinks about the logistics of it, it's not designed to keep kids safe at all," Lavarello said.

The bill still has a long way to go. It must win approval from several more committees before heading to the House floor. Steube says he is optimistic.

"We have shown their is bi-partisan support for this issue. That's really important as the bill moves forward in the process," said Steube.