On Friday, Florida governor Rick Scott signed a sweeping set of gun regulations into law. The move came three weeks after a grisly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near Fort Lauderdale.
Watch Scott sign the bill here, via CBSN.
There’s a lot to like in this bill. It raises the minimum age for buying a firearm to 21, and also bans bump stocks. However, Scott strongly objected to one provision that ended up in the final bill–a program that allows certain school personnel to serve as “school marshals” with the ability to carry guns on campus. The bill was originally even worse, but was amended to bar school employees who work solely as teachers from taking part in the program.
However, one has to wonder if this program would have even made it into the bill at all if the Republican leadership in the Florida legislature had spoken with the state’s insurance companies. After all, if past history is any indication, they will likely have the final say on whether any employees will be allowed to pack heat on campus.
Late last month, Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik recalled that insurance companies spoke loudly and clearly after Sandy Hook–they do not want school personnel carrying guns in school. Kansas found this out the hard way in 2013, when its tea-infused legislature gave school districts the power to allow all school employees with concealed-carry permits to take their guns on campus.
EMC Insurance, which insures 85 percent of Kansas’s school districts, struck fast and hard. It told its Kansas customers that it would not insure districts that allowed employees to carry concealed handguns. EMC viewed pistol-packing school employees as “a heightened liability risk”–enough of a risk that it would not only refuse to take on new business from school districts that allowed its employees to carry guns, but would also drop existing customers who allowed employees to carry guns.
Insurers in other states fell into line. Several workers’ comp insurers in Indiana said they would not cover school personnel who carried their guns on campus. The biggest liability insurance consortium in Oregon made it prohibitively expensive for school districts to let their employees carry guns. Any school district that lets civilians carry guns would have faced a surcharge for every employee who did so.
There’s a reason insurance companies objected so strenuously to this idea. As Hiltzik put it, “virtually no one seriously involved with school security” wants civilian school employees to carry guns on campus.
According to school security consultant Ken Trump–no relation to the president–this is because no amount of specialized training for school personnel can make up for the fact that they don’t have “the mind-set that comes with law enforcement.” Moreover, it opens a vegetable aisle’s worth of worms. For instance, how are police able to tell the difference between the bad guy with a gun and the good guy/gal with a gun?
One can only hope that Florida’s insurance companies have similar concerns. After all, they may be able to succeed in doing what Scott couldn’t do.
(featured image courtesy Never Again Facebook page)