Lawrence Mower Profile picture
Mar 3, 2018 91 tweets 25 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I'm live-tweeting the debate in the Florida Legislature on gun reforms, including arming teachers. Stay with this thread.
Sen. Audrey Gibson notes that the arming teachers proposal is based on the @PolkCoSheriff's program - which is only used by one private university in that county, but no public schools.
Here's a story I did earlier about that program:…
.@BillGalvano, the bill sponsor, says he would establish a 16-member commission to investigate #ParklandShooting. The FDLE director would lead it, and House/Senate/Governor would appoint people to it.
Sen. Montford (D), a former school principal, asking about arming teachers proposal: "If a school district opts not to participate ... there's no one who can override that decision, correct?"
@BillGalvano: "Correct."
Sen. Torres (D) is asking @BillGalvano: Will these teachers be supplied with bulletproof vests? Would those vests stop an AR-15? Should teachers be given shields, like SWAT uses?
.@BillGalvano says he doesn't know the answers, but says his line of questioning is "important."
(Torres is a former New York City transit police detective.)
.@FarmerForFLSen (D): "If the sheriff were to authorize the marshal (teacher) to carry an assault weapon, would that be allowed?"
@BillGalvano: "That would be left to the sheriff's department."
.@BillGalvano on his bill: "if you're asking me whether this closes what some refer to the 'gun show loophole,' the answer would be 'no.'"
Speaking of the gun show loophole, I wrote about some of that and other major loopholes in @BillGalvano's plan:…
.@TomLeeFL (R): "Is the marshal program (which allows teachers to carry guns) still optional?"
@BillGalvano: "Yes."
.@BillGalvano's bill would create an Office of Safe Schools to have a "state eye" watching the so-called marshal program, he says.

(It's called the marshal program because the teachers would be partially deputized by local sheriffs.)
To clear up some confusion on the 'marshal program,' the bill says that teachers in the program:

1. Would have "no authority to act in any law enforcement capacity" except to engage an active shooter.
2. Would not be given arrest powers.
3. Would need 132 hours of training.
.@JoseJavierJJR is questioning a major loophole in the bill: It raises the age of rifle purchases to 21, but only at licensed gun dealers. It doesn't apply to private sales.
.@JoseJavierJJR (D) asks why an assault weapon ban isn't in the bill:
.@BillGalvano: "I did not want to include, at this point, a complete ban on the purchase of firearms."
.@JoseJavierJJR is questioning a narrow - but critical - portion of the 'marshal program': It allows teacher only to engage "active
assailant incidents." But what does that mean? 1/2
In the #ParklandShooting, one student was misidentified as the shooter. What if a teacher had shot him? @JoseJavierJJR asks.

There would be questions of, "What authority did they (the teacher) have, and was it reasonable, to take action against a misidentified student?"
.@BillGalvano responds, saying that sheriffs would be responsible for training teachers when/how to respond to 'active assailant incidents.'
.@BillGalvano agrees with Sen Powell (D) that there should be some way to review the effectiveness of the marshal program. There is nothing in the bill right now that does that.
Anyone can watch this debate live on @floridachannel:

But it's not thrilling TV. Despite strong opinions on this subject, the questioning between @BillGalvano and his fellow senators has been sober and specific.
I'm circling back to something @Senator_Book (D) and Sen. Powell (D) asked about earlier: "risk protection orders."

The bill creates a way for police to petition a judge to have someone's guns and ammo taken away if the person is a "significant danger" to themselves or others.
5 other states have similar programs. But @BillGalvano's version has a significant difference: Only police can petition. In other states, family members can petition the judge.
If a judge approves temporarily taking away the person's guns, a hearing would be held 14 days later for both sides (police and the person) to debate extending the order.
The Senate is in recess until 1 p.m., when it will start debating the dozens of amendments that have been filed to the bill.

Upcoming: debate and votes on various gun restrictions, including on an assault weapons ban.
Sen. Montford (D), former school principal, offers amendment that would allow school districts to spend money for the 'marshal' program on school cops (aka 'school resource officers'). @BillGalvano is against it.
The amendment fails.
Next, Sen. Gibson's amendment fixes the loophole on 'risk protection orders,' allowing family to petition the judge. (This is how other states do it.) @BillGalvano said family should call police on the person, then police alone could file the petition.
"We should not take families out of the equation to help their own loved one," Gibson says.

Amendment fails.
Next, Sen. Braynon (D) proposes 2-year moratorium on the sale of AR-15 rifles, which was used in the #ParklandShooting. He said the time would be used to study whether the guns should be sold in Florida.
.@FarmerForFLSen says it's a "very fair compromise" to an outright assault weapons ban.
FDLE would be responsible for studying the rifles during the 2-year moratorium on AR-15 sales. Would not apply to other rifles.
.@BillGalvano: "I'm going to ask we oppose this amendment. I think it has some legal issues" targeting just one gun manufacturer. "I think the study is a good idea, but I ask that we vote down this amendment."
WOW: The amendment is adopted. That means a moratorium on AR-15 sales in Florida for two years (!).
(That's assuming the overall bill passes the Senate, House and is approved by @FLGovScott.)
Next, @JoseJavierJJR's amendment would create a "firearms registry" held by FDLE (state police).
(Jumping back into this thread after the AR-15 moratorium talk - IT WAS VOTED DOWN after a challenge to the original vote, FYI)

Next amendment is an assault weapon ban and high-capacity magazines sponsored by @LindaStewartFL.
.@dennisbaxley, who is staunchly pro-gun: "We have to defeat this amendment."

@FarmerForFLSen: "The root common denominator of all mass shootings is, in fact, the instrument used."
.@FarmerForFLSen: Assault rifles are used for killing "large numbers of human beings."

"They may, by some, be used for sport, but that is not their intended use. ... I don't see a valid sporting use of an AR-15 for hunting deer or duck."
.@FarmerForFLSen The argument that even if we enact this, people are going to get guns anyway? So let's get rid of speeding laws, because people speed. ... We don't allow our criminals to define our criminal code, or our legal code."
Sen. Thurston (D): "We are here to make a difference, to do something about it. ... The argument that it's unconstitutional, Maryland is doing it."
Thurston: "Let's give the students from Douglas their number one request: Ban assault weapons."
Sen. Simmons (R): Let's compromise. ... But now he's talking about King George and Hitler taking weapons. "You think it doesn't happen in a free society?"

He says guns are not just for robbers and self-defense, but for "the government that has gone awry."
Simmons still going. "Is there a rational alternative we can propose (to a ban)? And senators, there is a rational alternative that we can do... We can craft something." What is it? He still hasn't said what the compromise is.
Ohh, the compromise is @BillGalvano's overall bill.
.@darrylrouson (D): "I didn't know King George. I didn't know the founders. We're in a different time."

"What I do know is that I can do something about weapons of mass killings."
.@JoseJavierJJR on @DSimmonsFL's post-apocalyptic reasons for keeping these guns: "It's frightening, and it's really hard to understand."
.@kellistargel (R): Are we going to ban fertilizer, which was used in the Oklahoma City bombing? Are we going to ban pressure cookers, used in the Boston bombing? "It's not the weapon, it's the evil within."
Also @kellistargel: "Thoughts and prayers" are the only thing stopping this evil. "That's something I'm going to continue to do in my comprehensive plan."
Sen. Powell (D): "If you tell me the purpose of fertilizer is to create bombs, and fertilizer doesn't serve any other purpose, then I will say we should ban fertilizer."
Thevamendment to ban assault weapons dies, 17 to 20.
.@Annette_Taddeo is now talking about her amendment to catch people who fail background checks, which I wrote about here:…
Well, that was quick. It wasn't adopted.
.@Annette_Taddeo's next amendment is to remove the state law that prohibits cities and counties from imposing their own gun restrictions.
.@dennisbaxley: "There's a reason why we have this statewide pre-emption. You could have across this state a patchwork of regulations that you could not comply with."
That, too, fails, 13-23.
The Senate has now extended its session today until 9 p.m. (it started at 10 a.m.)
.@darrylrouson proposes closing under-21 loophole, making it illegal to give/sell a weapon to someone under 21.

It fails.
Democrats just do not have the numbers to pass these amendments.
Another amendment, this one by @oscarjb2, would remove the marshal plan from the bill.
Black lawmakers have huge reservations about having armed teachers in classrooms, as my colleagues @stevebousquet, @MaryEllenKlas, @mahoneysthename have written:…
.@JoseJavierJJR: "I do not think the response to gun violence in our schools is to put more guns in our schools."
.@FarmerForFLSen "Our governor has said, he doesn't want this. ... It's this piece that offends the most amount of people, and causes people the most concern."
I've said it once, I'll say it again: Politicians/teachers are talking about students getting weapons or teachers purposely shooting students.

They're missing a far more common danger: accidental shootings. Even police have accidental shootings.
.@TomLeeFL (R), who has really been bucking the Senate leadership the last 24 hours: I support this amendment.
Now @TomLeeFL says he doesn't support it. I guess we'll wait for the vote count.
.@dennisbaxley says Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS needed "one person with a gun, that wasn't afraid, was fearless."
On accidental shootings: I could only two examples of legally armed teachers shooting anyone/anything.

In 2014, a Utah middle school teacher mishandled her handgun and fired into a toilet.

Also that year, a prof in Idaho accidentally shot himself in the foot at @IdahoStateU.
.@KevinRader says the @PBCountySheriff is adamantly against arming teachers. (Other sheriffs have also come out against it. Other sheriffs are for it.)
.@Annette_Taddeo mentions Scot Peterson, the school cop who was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS, who "froze." "Now we're expecting teachers, whose career is not in law enforcement, to behave above and beyond someone whose career is in law enforcement."
.@BillGalvano says that it's purely voluntary for teachers, and they would receive more hands-on gun training than Florida requires of police. (Which is true in the number of hours of training.)

"We're seeking to transform school security in Florida."
.@oscarjb2 giving pretty thoughtful, eloquent closing remarks on his amendment to remove the marshal program from this bill. "All I ask is for time. This is an important piece of legislation that we put together in a week."

But marshal program "splits us down the middle."
.@oscarjb2 concedes that it's not the right time for an assault-weapon ban. "I concede that. This is the time to come together. On the other end, this is too divisive."
And the amendment fails, 20-18.
.@LindaStewartFL has another amendment that would ban assault rifles sales for two years. (An earlier one would have banned only AR-15 or two years.)

And again that one fails.
Democrats have only been able to pass one amendment to this bill today - and it only lasted 15 minutes. (It was the temporary ban on AR-15 sales, and it was voted down after passing on a verbal vote.)
Now @FarmerForFLSen proposes amendment to ban high-capacity magazines. Would limit magazines to 10 rounds or fewer.

@BillGalvano says he's against it.

No discussion from anyone else. "Clearly there's a lot of fatigue in the room," Farmer says.
And that one fails, too, 25-13.
Wow. Sen. Bracy's (D) amendment would require 12 hours of diversity training for teachers in marshal program.

With @BillGalvano's support, it passes unanimously. (!)
Sen. Simmons, a strong gun supporter, now proposes prohibiting the sale or transfer of "assault weapons" to people under 21.
It is a bit of a compromise. It would eliminate the 'gun show loophole' for assault rifles, which the current bill does not do.

On the other hand, the current bill restricts ALL licensed sales to people under 21, and that would be eliminated with Simmons' proposal.
.@BillGalvano: "Unfortunately, I rise in opposition to the amendment."

So it fails.
.@SenCampbellD38 now proposes requiring people wanting a concealed weapons permit to first get a mental health evaluation.

I don't see this one getting far...
And yeah, it fails.
.@TomLeeFL: "What are we going to do about the assassins?" 🤔
He has an unusual amendment that would prevent prosecutors from offering plea deals of less than a life sentence for first-degree murder suspects.

@BillGalvano also sounds a little confused, saying the amendment is only advisory, and he does not support it.
Ok, yeah, here's the language: "the prosecutor should not offer, and the court should not accept, a plea agreement that excludes the possibility of a life sentence." No requirement at all.

It fails.
.@TomLeeFL says the marshal plan is for "bumper stickers" in the fall and is pointless. "The marshal plan you can already do," he says. (He's right - it already exists in Polk County and could be rolled out anywhere.)
He proposes a new bill that would take out both the marshal plan AND all the gun control legislation.
Lee: "It's put up or shut up time. ... As soon as we have this marshal program, someone's going to drive their pickup into the lunch room or something."

And that fails.
Yep, so that's it for tonight, folks. The bill, with the marshal program that deputizes some teachers, will be back on Monday.

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