More than five years after 17 victims were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, one of the state’s U.S. senators has proposed a bill that he believes would prevent future tragedies.
In a statement on Tuesday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) explained that the School Guardian Act would allow schools nationwide to provide a trained armed guard. He has suggested funding the program with roughly $80 billion already earmarked for expanding the Internal Revenue Service.
Scott, who was governor at the time of the Parkland shooting in February 2018, said he has been a consistent advocate for providing more security in schools throughout Florida and across the country.
“Today, every public school in Florida has an armed police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or an individual who has completed the rigorous training provided through our Guardian Program,” he said. “These brave public servants are in our schools to keep our kids and teachers safe from the evil that we’ve seen far too often across America.”
We don’t need to expand the IRS. We need to make sure our children are safe at school.
My new bill funds armed law enforcement officers at every school in the country.https://t.co/cudZMJjdzf
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) April 27, 2023
The senator noted that his most recent action was inspired in part by the deadly shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this year.
“Washington spends money on all sorts of wasteful ideas and the massive expansion of the IRS is a prime example of that,” he declared. “We need to put the dollars we spend to good use. These funds should absolutely be used instead to provide block grants to states so they can increase school security at every school and keep kids safe.”
Jewish schools in his state have also faced threats, which led to his determination that such initiatives should not be limited to public schools.
“Our religious schools need to be protected and that is why my legislation will make sure it allows all schools to use these dollars,” Scott concluded. “I will be filing a bill on this soon and I look forward to my colleagues in the Senate giving it their support.”
While leftist lawmakers generally support more gun control in response to mass shootings, Scott is one of several prominent Republicans who have pushed for an increase in the number of armed guards in schools.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has proposed similar legislation, and following the Nashville shooting he said: “These bills would be the most significant investment in school security ever enacted by Congress — doubling the number of police officers in schools and improving the physical security of our schools. I call on my colleagues to act with me and pass this legislation now to protect our children in school.”