Proposal would ban guns in childcare facilities in FL

Democratic state Rep. Cindy Polo (in red dress) is sponsoring the proposal in the House.

Concealed weapons are prohibited in a variety of public places in Florida, including elementary and secondary schools — but not in childcare facilities. Trying to correct that, two Democrats have filed legislation to add daycare facilities to the list of public places where guns are prohibited in Florida.

“There is no valid reason for a parent or visiting adult to be armed when entering a childcare facility,” said State Sen. Lori Berman from Lantana, a bill sponsor in the Legislature’s upper chamber.

“In our schools, we protect our children by only allowing guns on campus in the hands of trained personnel. This same standard should apply here. Individuals should not be permitted to enter these facilities with weapons. Common sense dictates that guns should be prohibited in these centers except for trained individuals,” Berman said in a statement.

In addition to schools, state law bans citizens from carrying firearms in courthouses, polling places, sporting events, college campuses and places where government agencies meet, including the Legislature in Tallahassee.

In recent sessions there have been attempts by some Republicans in the Legislature to allow people to carry firearms on college campuses, but that failed to gain passage.

Sen. Berman has filed similar bills on banning guns from childcare facilities, but they’ve all died in committee. She says she was motivated to refile the bill following an event that took place in Vero Beach last year, when a man walked into a pre-school with a loaded gun but was only charged with resisting arrest because he had a concealed carry license.

“This piece of legislation won’t curb the gun violence epidemic in our state, but it will create a safe space for our little ones,” said state South Florida Rep. Cindy Polo, who is sponsoring the bill in the House.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that children do not fear attending school due to a fear of guns. An intentional or accidental shooting at a preschool is an unthinkable tragedy, and this legislation will help prevent it from becoming a reality,” Polo said in a statement.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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