The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (SB 7026) passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature this week and signed Friday by Gov. Rick Scott allocates more than $400 million for major changes in three areas:
- Allows judges to prohibit violent or mentally ill people from buying or possessing a firearm or any other weapon. If a law enforcement officer believes someone poses a danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm, the officer can petition a court to have that person immediately surrender the firearm.
- Allows law enforcement to seize firearms when a person has been detained under the “Baker Act.” Also prohibits someone who has been “adjudicated mentally defective” or “committed to a mental institution” from owning or possessing a firearm.
- Requires anyone buying firearms to be at least 21. Exceptions are included for the purchase of rifles and shotguns by law enforcement and correctional officers, active duty military and all members of the Florida National Guard and United States Reserve Forces.
- Bans sale or possession of bump stocks.
- Creates 3-day waiting period for all firearms sales. This does not apply to the purchase of a rifle or shotgun by law enforcement and correctional officers, active duty military, members of Florida National Guard or United States Reserve Forces, or those who have completed a hunter safety course and possess a hunter safety identification card or are exempt from hunter safety course requirements.
- Increases criminal penalties for people who make threats to schools, including social media threats of shootings or bombings.
- Provides $162 million for safe-school officers and requires a safe-school officer at each school in the state. Safe-school officers must be sworn law enforcement officers.
- Creates the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program to have local sheriff’s office provide school personnel 132 hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training to be allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus. A school district’s participation in program requires agreement of school board and sheriff. Classroom teachers are not allowed to participate except for those in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), current or retired armed service members and current or retired law enforcement officers.
- Requires mandatory active shooter training every semester for students, district school safety specialists, threat assessment teams, faculty, staff and designated first responders.
- Provides $99 million to address safety needs in public schools, including hardening measures such as metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks. The Florida Department of Education will establish the Office of Safe Schools to work with sheriffs and police chiefs to approve school safety plans.
- Increases the sharing of information between sheriff’s offices, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and any community behavioral health providers to coordinate services and provide prevention or intervention strategies.
- Creates an anonymous K-12 “FortifyFL” mobile app to allow students and others to anonymously report dangerous threats.
- Establishes the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission to investigate system failures in the Parkland school shooting and prior mass shootings in Florida and develop recommendations for improvements.
- Provides $75 million for dedicated mental health counselors to provide direct counseling services to students. Every student in Florida will have access to a mental health counselor.
- Requires every school in Florida to have a threat assessment team — including a mental health counselor, teacher, law enforcement officer and school administrator — which must meet monthly to review potential threats.
- Requires crisis intervention training for all school resource officers.
- Provides $28 million to expand mental health service teams statewide to provide counseling and crisis management to youth and young adults with early or serious mental illness.