Today, I am announcing a major action plan. I will be working with the legislature aggressively over the next two weeks to get it done.
I’ve broken my action plan down into three sections. Gun laws, school safety, and mental health. We must get this done in the next two weeks.
First, on guns:
I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who has mental issues to use a gun. I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who is a danger to themselves or others to use a gun.
I want to create a new program in Florida – I call it the Violent Threat Restraining Order. This concept is very simple, and very common sense in my view.
This will allow a court to prohibit a violent or mentally ill person from purchasing or possessing a firearm or any other weapon when either a family member, community welfare expert or law enforcement officer files a sworn request, and presents evidence to the court of a threat of violence involving firearms or other weapons. There would be speedy due process for the accused and any fraudulent or false statements would face criminal penalties.
We will also strengthen gun purchase and possession restrictions for mentally ill individuals under the Baker Act. If a court involuntarily commits someone because they are a risk to themselves or others, they would be required to surrender all firearms and not regain their right to purchase or possess a firearm until a court hearing. We are also proposing a minimum 60-day period before individuals can ask a court to restore access to firearms.
Also, we will require all individuals purchasing firearms to be 21 or older. Let me repeat – we will require all individuals purchasing firearms to be 21 or older.
There will be exceptions for active duty and reserve military and spouses, National Guard members, and law enforcement.
Next, we will prohibit a person from possessing or purchasing a firearm if they are subject to an injunction for protection against stalking, cyberstalking, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or domestic violence.
We will establish enhanced criminal penalties for threats to schools, like social media threats of shootings or bombings. We will also enhance penalties if any person possesses or purchases a gun after they have been deemed by state law to not have access to a gun.
And, we will completely ban the purchase or sale of bump stocks.
The second part of my action plan provides $450 million to keep students safe.
Today, I am calling for a mandatory law enforcement officer in every public school. These law enforcement officers must either be sworn sheriff’s deputies or police officers and be present during all hours students are on campus.
The size of the campus should be a factor in determining staffing levels by the county sheriff’s office, and I am proposing at least one law enforcement officer for every 1,000 students. This must be implemented by the start of the 2018 school year.
We will also provide sheriff’s departments the authority to train additional school personnel or reserve law enforcement officers to protect students if requested by the local school board.
And, we will require mandatory active shooter training as outlined by the Department of Homeland Security. All training and code red drills must be completed during the first week of each semester in all public schools. Both faculty and students must participate in active shooter drills and local sheriff’s offices must approve and be involved in training.
We are also increasing funding in the Safe Schools Allocation to address specific school safety needs within each school district. This includes school hardening measures like metal detectors, bullet-proof glass, steel doors, and upgraded locks. The Florida Department of Education, with FDLE, will also provide minimum school safety and security standards by July 1st to all school districts.
All school safety plans must be submitted to their county sheriff’s office by July 1st each year for approval. Once all plans and requests for school hardening have been approved by the county sheriff’s office, in consultation with local police, plans will be forwarded to the Department of Education by the school district to receive any state funds.
School districts must also take all capital outlay funds received from taxpayers and use it for school hardening before it can be spent on any other capital outlay. All safe school allocations must be spent in accordance with the sheriff approved plans.
We will also require each school district that receives a Safe Schools Allocation to enter into an agreement with the local sheriff’s office, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Law Enforcement and any community behavioral health provider for the purpose of sharing information. That will allow us to better coordinate services in order to provide prevention or intervention strategies.
We will also establish a new, anonymous K-12 “See Something, Say Something” statewide, dedicated hotline, website and mobile app.
Next, we will establish funding to require access to dedicated mental health counselors to provide direct counseling services to students at every school. These counselors cannot serve dual roles, like teaching or academic advising. Every student must have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a mental health professional, and receive ongoing counseling as needed.
Each school will be required to have a threat assessment team including a teacher, a local law enforcement officer, a human resource officer, a DCF employee, a DJJ employee, and the principal to meet monthly to review any potential threats to students and staff at the school.
Finally, we will require crisis intervention training for all school personnel. This training must be completed before the start of the 2018 school year.
The final part of my action plan includes $50 million in additional funding for mental health initiatives.
We must expand mental health service teams statewide to serve youth and young adults with early or serious mental illness by providing counseling, crisis management and other critical mental health services.
We are also requiring every sheriffs’ office to have a DCF case manager embedded in their department to solely work as a crisis welfare worker for repeat cases in the community. This will require 67 additional employees to be hired at DCF by July 15th.
Finally, we will provide law enforcement and mental health coordination matching grants to allow sheriffs to establish special law enforcement teams to coordinate with DCF case managers.
To read the Governor’s full major action plan, click HERE.