The Latest: Florida Senate leader ‘open’ to arming teachers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the commission investigating the Florida high school massacre (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Florida’s Senate president says he is “very open” to a proposal that would allow volunteer teachers to carry concealed handguns if they pass a background check and undergo extensive training.

Senate President Bill Galvano said Thursday he will consider the proposal the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission passed 13-1 on Wednesday. The commission is investigating the Feb. 14 massacre that left 17 dead and making recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

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Supporters argue that even the best response by law enforcement will likely take two to three minutes to confront a shooter, while teachers could immediately.

Galvano said he wants a “realistic conversation” about what arming teachers would accomplish and that he plans to speak to opponents like the state teachers union and PTA. They say adding guns will make schools less safe and that teachers should not also have to be armed guards.

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2:20 p.m.

The commission investigating the Florida high school massacre criticized the local sheriff’s office and FBI for not acting on tips that the suspect was a potential school shooter.

The Marjory Stoneman High School Public Safety Commission concluded Thursday that both the Broward Sheriff’s Office and federal agents failed to act on tips that suspect Nikolas Cruz was acting irrationally and had made threats. Cruz is accused of killing 17 at the school Feb. 14.

Both agencies say they have taken steps to avoid a repeat.

The commission cleared Broward deputies who responded to Cruz’s home numerous times during his teens for minor incidents, saying there were no grounds for arrest.

The commission also found the 20-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student never met the criteria for involuntary mental health confinement.

Cruz has pleaded not guilty but his attorneys have said he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence.

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11 a.m.

The commission investigating a Florida high school massacre heavily criticized the responding sheriff office’s active shooter policy, saying it contributed to the failure of some deputies to run into the building and confront the gunman.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission found Thursday that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s policy that deputies “may” confront active shooters rather than “shall” gave some an excuse for not entering the building during the Feb. 14 massacre that left 17 dead.

Israel told commissioners last month he didn’t want deputies engaging in “suicide missions,” but the commission’s law enforcement members said that could be handled by training deputies how to confront shooters in the safest way possible.

The commission must file its report to the governor and Legislature by Jan. 1.

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