DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - With the potential for armed teachers in the classroom now written into Florida law, a Volusia County gun shop is giving educators the opportunity at some free firearm education.
Top Gun in Daytona Beach announced Thursday that they will again offer free classes for interested teachers.
"We're gonna do free concealed weapons classes to every teacher in the State of Florida and any school board-faculty member in the State of Florida,” said manager Paul Jabaly.
The store opened the offer for the first time last year after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Jabaly said they had to open the offer again a few months later due to popularity among area educators.
“We qualified about 700 teachers,” said Jabaly.
Now the shop’s opening that offer to any Florida educators with the opportunity to carry possibly coming to their classrooms.
This week, Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed a bill into law that clears the way for Florida school districts to allow trained, licensed teachers and school staff to be armed in school. The law acts as an extension to the School Guardian program that opened to state districts last year.
The law has quickly been met with praise by some and criticism by others, however it’s the response from many school districts that may keep it from creating much of a ripple anytime soon.
"In fact I haven't heard of one district so far that said they would [allow it],” said Andrew Spar, Vice President of the Florida Educators Association union.
Many district school boards like Orange County voted against arming teachers long before the law was signed. Others like Broward County have also said no.
Some undecided school districts like Volusia County are planning discussions on the topic at upcoming board meetings, but Spar said, from what he’s seen, it’s not looking likely in a lot of those either.
The state educators union has been a vocal opponent of the idea.
"This just doesn't make sense. We should have trained professionals in our schools such as law enforcement officers handling weapons - not teachers,” said Spar.
However others, including some high ranking law enforcement officials like Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, are encouraging school boards to take the state up on the armed teachers offer.
"When are you going to accept reality that that's the world we live in today?" said Judd during a press conference this week.
Jabaly said whether armed teachers become widely adopted, or if no districts sign on, he still hopes teachers and school staff will take his shop up on their offer to at least learn about carrying. He said not only will it help them form their personal opinions on the topic, but it’ll let them test if they’d even have the interest, or even have it in them to carry in the classroom.
"Get em trained, get em educated about it, because that's what it's all about,” said Jabaly.
Top Gun welcomes any interested Florida educators to contact them about getting into one of the free classes.