Gov. DeSantis touts new school safety law as Democrats push for gun reform special session

Gov. DeSantis has signed into law this year;’s school safety bill.

The announcement came out Tuesday, roughly 45 minutes after the Florida Secretary of State sent out a poll to lawmakers asking whether they’d support a special session on gun reform.

The measure received wide bipartisan support in the Florida Legislature, but as with the majority of the school safety bills passed in the wake of the Parkland shooting, it doesn’t address guns, which Democrats argue need to be part of the conversation.

The school safety bill includes a total of $368 million for school safety and mental health.

“With this budget now, we’ll have done close to three-quarters of a billion dollars just since I’ve been a governor on school security,” DeSantis on Wednesday.

It includes crisis intervention training for safety officers, a requirement that 80% of school staff receive youth mental health awareness training, and allows the commissioner of education to enforce school safety and security compliance.

“We wanted to make sure that we were providing the resources necessary so that these are not going to be good places to go. If you’re one of these nut jobs, just know that you’re gonna end up on you a** and it’s not gonna end up being pretty. You’re not gonna walk out there alive.” said DeSantis.

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Winter Park) argued the state has done a lot to improve school safety, but Republican lawmakers are ignoring one issue in particular: guns.

“We need to expand red flag laws. We need to make sure that we enact universal criminal background checks and have safe storage and restrict large-capacity magazines,” said Smith.

Smith and other Florida Democratic lawmakers have called for a special session to enact those very policies.

Only six Republicans had weighed in on the poll as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

All members voted against the special session on gun reform.

“They’re also just trying to dodge the reality that Governor Ron DeSantis has recently promised the public that before he leaves office, he wants to enact permitless carry,” said Smith.

The Governor has been silent on his previous calls for a so-called “constitutional carry” bill since the Uvalde shooting.

The proposal would do away with concealed carry permits and allow all lawful gun owners to carry their weapons concealed.

He reiterated his preferred strategy for responding to mass shootings Wednesday morning.

“You focus on the criminal. You focus on the lunatic. You don’t kneecap the rights of law-abiding citizens,” said DeSantis.

Lawmakers have until 3 p.m. Friday to respond to the special session poll.

71 “yes” votes are needed in the House and 24 in the Senate.

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