School Safety Measure Moves in Florida House on Anniversary of Parkland Shooting

Lawmakers are also considering decreasing the age to purchase a gun.

This is a photo of a memorial in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Rhona Wise/Getty Images

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Florida lawmakers approved a bill aimed at increasing school safety on the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Meanwhile, they also were considering rolling back a state law that increased the minimum age for purchasing a gun that lawmakers passed following the shooting.

Lawmakers in the House Education & Employment Committee held a moment of silence Wednesday morning following their vote to approve the school safety legislation to commemorate the 17 people killed in the shooting. The proposal, HB 1473, from Republican Rep. Dana Trabulsy of St. Lucie County, would require entry points and classroom doors in public schools to be locked unless a staff member is guarding them.

“Sadly, there are 17 victims and their friends and families that will never look at Valentine’s Day the same, and that’s why the school safety bill was born six years ago, and that’s why we continue to hear a school safety bill every year so that we can continue to build upon what we’ve learned from previous years and instances,” Trabulsy said.

Additionally, the law would require the Office of Safe Schools to conduct unannounced inspections of schools to ensure they comply with all safety requirements. Those inspections would happen every three years, and schools found out of compliance would face reinspection within six months.

The proposal passed the committee with unanimous support.


On Tuesday, the eve of the mass shooting’s anniversary, Democrats criticized two bills in the House that would lower the age of purchasing a firearm from 21 to 18 and allow someone to get a gun if the Florida Department of Law Enforcement can’t determine that person’s eligibility within three days.

“So as far as I’m concerned, candidly, that bill and so many others in this building this year are a slap in the face to my community, to the victims and their families, and really is absurd,” said Broward County Democratic House Rep. Dan Daley during the remote Tuesday news conference.

Under the school-safety bill, people would also be prohibited from flying drones over any school without permission from the administration. Republican Rep. Randy Fine said that had been a problem for Jewish day schools, which the committee also approved to receive additional funding Wednesday through a bill he sponsored.

“I just want folks to know this was an issue that came up after Oct. 7, where drones started flying over Jewish day schools, and FDLE told us, ‘There’s nothing you could do. They can fly them over,’” Fine said. “While the issue is only affecting Jewish day schools, frankly, drones shouldn’t be flying over any schools.”

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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