Florida judge’s ruling complicates keeping guns off school grounds
A Florida judge ruled that a teacher who parked at a high school with an AK-47 rifle in full view in his vehicle did not violate state law. That ruling is prompting school leaders in South Florida to ask for preventative action.
NBC Miami | By Ari Odzer | July 10, 2023
It’s something we all take for granted, that guns are not allowed on public school grounds in Florida unless they’re being carried by police officers or armed guardians. A ruling by an administrative law judge in St. Lucie County three weeks ago, however, has cast doubt on that assumption.
The judge ruled that a teacher who parked at a high school with an AK-47 rifle in full view in his vehicle did not violate state law because it was unloaded and therefore not “available for immediate use,” even though there was ammunition in the console. The rule has sent ripples of concern through school districts across the state.
“What I simply don’t want is a situation that presents to the board as it did in St. Lucie County where it was OK for an AK-47 to be in the front seat of a vehicle in plain sight on school grounds,” said Miami-Dade School Board member Dr. Steve Gallon.
Gallon said he wants his school district to investigate the issue.
“I think this case provides an opportunity for us to take a look at this particular scenario and take proactive steps,” Gallon said. “We don’t want to be in a reactive position, we don’t want to see a tragedy happen at a school.”
Gallon was asked if one of the concerns was that a student or someone with bad intentions could break into an employee’s car and take a gun left inside.
“Oh absolutely, in this particular case, the teacher in question conceded that was a likelihood to happen on that campus,” Gallon replied.