Florida state representative on having armed school marshals

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 22, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TRISH REGAN, "YOUR WORLD" HOST: Amid all these protests, the Republican-led Florida legislature is currently working on a sweeping gun control bill.

It calls for age limits and waiting periods for semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15, which was used in last week's school shooting.

Republican State Representative Joseph Oliva is author of the legislation and met with those students yesterday.

Good to have you here, sir.

What did they tell you?


It was an emotional meeting. Obviously, the kids that came up did it with tremendous strength and commitment. They wanted to tell us about what they went through and then they wanted to implore us to make their schools safe.

And I should say the legislation we're currently working on is much more a school safety law than it is a gun control law. The systemic breakdowns that occurred here are the ones that we're looking to address.

REGAN: So, with that in mind, what would your law accomplish? What would you change? How would you make schools safe?

OLIVA: Well, there's a myriad of ways to do that.

The first thing that we're looking to address is, why did all of the systems that were in place fail? Why did the school itself and the knowledge that they have, why was that not communicated to the Department of Children and Families here in Florida?

Why did the sheriff's office on their multiple visits to the shooter's home not recognize and not be able to share information with those other agencies about the level of threat that he posed? And then, finally, something that is out of our purview is, how did the FBI fail?

And so it's a truly systemic failure. And we're looking to create ways that mental health officials can communicate along of these lines.

REGAN: Right. But, besides that, because mental health obviously is big component of this.

What else can you be doing right now to make sure that schools are safe? Have you guys talked about allowing the teachers who are trained in firearms to be able to bring their gun to school as well?


OLIVA: Well, we want to do more than that. And so, yes, part of our proposal will include in the hardening of schools having school marshals.


OLIVA: That would be teachers that hold a concealed weapons permit that would go through an extensive training that would be carried out by local law enforcement and approved by local school boards, and of course, would on a voluntary basis.

REGAN: Let me ask you this. Does have it to be a teacher, though?

Because I think about my sister went to school for teaching. And I don't think she has ever shot a gun in her life. And, you know, she wants to teach. She's there because she wants to teach. And then asking her to suddenly take on the protection of those students by learning how to shoot a firearm or having that responsibility, that's kind of a different job description.

What if you guys looked at having U.S. Marshals, actually having U.S. Marshals, actually having security officers all around that school? And, look, if you have got a teacher that is killed in that way and she or he can help by also being a so-called marshal, maybe that works.

But I just worry that you're going to turn a lot of people off from the profession if they don't have the background.

OLIVA: Well, I think that you're equating the voluntary ability to do it if they so choose with a requirement for them to do it.

This is -- not every teacher would be required to do this. In fact, none of them would. But I'm certain that there are many teachers...

REGAN: But a school system is going to need to say...

OLIVA: ... including that brave coach that threw himself in front of those children.

REGAN: Right.

OLIVA: I'm sure that he would have been willing to carry a firearm.


But you're also -- as a school, you are going to say, OK, well, we need X- number of people that can carry firearms. So, suddenly, your job description becomes a little bit more. I mean, look, if you're skilled in firearms and you want to carry one because you want to protect yourself and your students, I understand that. I'm sympathetic to that. I get it.

But my concern here is that we're going to have some kind of blanket rule, where you have to have 10 teacher marshals in a particular school, and suddenly your principal and your school board is looking for those that know how to shoot a gun, as opposed to those who know how to teach kids.


OLIVA: No, I think if that's going to happen, it will be in another state.

The legislation we're putting together makes it entirely voluntary. And in addition to that, we already have at many of our schools a school resource officer. That's an officer from the police department that serves at that school.

We're going to double the number of those officers. But the real way and the best way to create this protection -- and some other states have it -- is to have that option. It's just an option. We certainly did it after the tragedies of 9/11 on airplanes.

REGAN: It's an option.

I'm just saying go a little further here. Take a little money. Spent a little money. This is beyond the communities, I would think. Hire some police officers. There's ways that you could protect a school where you don't put the burden entirely on the teaching population, but that you actually have law enforcement there.

OLIVA: Well, I think our proposal has both.

So we have school resource officers and then we have this option. And I think that what you will see when the plan rolls out is that there's a huge financial commitment to all of it.

REGAN: Yes. No, it's a commitment we are going to have to make, because, unfortunately, this is the world in which we now live.

Representative, good luck with your proposal and with your bill. Thank you very much for joining us today.


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