The Parkland, Florida, school shooting yielded calls for more gun control, but Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd instead called for arming teachers.
Judd told Fox News that gun control on every campus in Florida dictates that no one can bring a gun onto campus. He added that the only person who violates this rule is the “crazed person — the active shooter.”
Instead of trying to restrict guns further, the sheriff advocated for putting more on campus — as long as they’re in the right hands.
In 2016, he created the Sentinel Program at Southeastern University in Lakeland, which carefully selects faculty members to carry firearms on the chance a shooter carries out an assault on campus.
“We go through the staff and we look to see who has the clean background,” he said. “In addition to that, we do psychological evaluations. Then we do great amounts of training, even more than the Florida police standards require.”
Judd said he’s proposed the program to Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and state legislators to implement it across the state. While there are no “absolutes” in life, he said if his program was in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, “everything could have been different.”
The sheriff pointed to faculty members who died trying to shield kids and said if they had a firearm, it could have been a “game-changer.”
He explained the average shooting only lasts two to five minutes and that the average police response time is five minutes. So by the time 911 is called, it’s “too late.”
“There is not one parent that wouldn’t have taken a gun and run onto that campus that day in order to save those children,” Judd said.
He added that he’s just trying to screen teachers and staff, find people who possibly have past military or law enforcement experience, and give them the tools to protect students.