Florida governor says National Guard troops will be stationed at highways leading to college campuses in school safety push, a suggestion critics say could endanger drivers
Florida governor: National Guard to guard campuses after shooting deaths Read more
With its highest-profile political rivals closing in on him as Republicans, Florida’s governor says armed troops would protect some state college campuses, though safety advocates are alarmed by the proposal.
Governor Rick Scott wants the Florida National Guard to have a presence at the entrances to college campuses, like the armed guards that were at the entrances of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub a year ago when it was attacked by a gunman who killed 49 people and wounded dozens more.
It was the worst mass shooting in modern US history.
Scott’s proposal that he will make public in coming days comes on the heels of the massacre last week of two dozen people at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
The target of the attack was a former colleague, who was found dead with a bullet wound to the head.
It was the latest in a series of deadly shootings at newsrooms and media outlets, including at the Capital Gazette last year in Annapolis, Maryland.
In a statement issued after the killings in Maryland, Scott said: “Governor-elect DeSantis and I stand ready to offer any assistance they may need as they begin their work.”
Florida’s congressional delegation headed by DeSantis, a former congressman, are expected to join the governor in his efforts to help the victims.
The attack has triggered a recent round of meetings in Washington between representatives from the Florida congressional delegation and federal authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security.
Also among those urging federal assistance are US senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.
Some South Florida college officials and student groups are wary of the measure.
They cite high student-on-student assaults and sexual assaults, carjackings, robberies and stabbings of students on campus in the last five years.
One in particular, in 2016, left three students injured. Two students were hospitalized, but all survived.
A report by a national task force on college safety, released in 2016, said more than 95% of crimes at colleges and universities are not reported.
Morton Robinson, president of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, said the university would be interested in participating in the plan, but is concerned about an increase in police presence at campuses.
Students at Florida A&M attended orientation in Tallahassee on Friday to learn about the school’s reaction to the massacre and warnings about bullying directed at the victims.