TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A controversial gun bill that would arm some teachers in Florida is one step closer to becoming law.
Senate Bill 968, which is sponsored by Republican State Senator Alan Hays, cleared a senate committee by a 5-2 vote this week.
The legislation makes it legal for superintendents and principals to designate certain employees and volunteers to carry a loaded firearm at elementary, middle and high schools across the state.
They could be retired military, law enforcement or anyone with a valid concealed weapons permit. Several hours of training would also be required.
Hays and supporters argue the bill would make it possible for people inside a school to better defend themselves against armed intruders.
It was inspired by a shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 students and six staff members.
Opponents of the bill contend many Florida schools are already protected by armed, full-time law enforcement officers.
Opponents also believe firearms should not be in the presence of students and might set a bad example.
Several school districts, teacher's unions and student-parent organizations have spoken out publicly against the bill.
The Florida House of Representatives and other legislative committees must still consider it before it can become law.
This particular piece of legislation is just one of a couple high-profile gun bills Florida lawmakers are set to consider during the 2014 legislative session in Tallahassee.
Similar bills have been considered in other states, including Georgia.