Posted: February 18, 2018
By Eric Schwartzberg, WHIO.com
BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio —
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Sunday he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there.
Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry classes to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training on how to react during school shootings would be provided.
He said the details would be coming soon online at the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
I am going to offer free concealed and Carry class free 2 teachers in butler county. Limited number. Details coming soon on line. Also training on school shootings.— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) February 18, 2018
Visit our Facebook page for more info. On CCW for teachers.— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) February 18, 2018
Jones said Saturday he has “been saying this for years” as he tweeted a Fox News story that Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd said it would be a “game changer” to allow some handpicked teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.
Been saying this for years https://t.co/1oVN2AbEfd— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) February 17, 2018
Jones, in a video posted Thursday, urged local schools to act now to improve school security in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Wednesday.
He said local schools should stop doing fire drills and allow armed former police and military veterans into buildings to help protect students.
Al Hoffman Jr., a North Palm Beach real estate developer and major Republican donor, is cutting off donations to candidates who do not support a ban on assault weapons, according to a report in the New York Times.
Hoffman said he would urge other Republican donors to support an assault weapons ban, according to the report. Hoffman announced the ultimatum in an email to half a dozen Republican leaders, including Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott. Hoffman has donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes over the years.
A critic of President Trump, Hoffman supported Jeb Bush during the 2016 presidential campaign and donated more than $1 million to Right to Rise, a super PAC that supported Bush’s brief candidacy, according to the report.
“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” Hoffman wrote in the email. “Enough is enough.”
The loss of Hoffman’s support could be especially harmful to Scott, who is considering a Senate bid this year. Republican Rep. Brian Mast also will not see any donations from Hoffman if he does not support new gun legislation, according to the report.
Hoffman, who has a history of speaking his mind, has threatened to cut donations before. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post in 2013, Hoffman said he would be reluctant to raise money for candidates who do not support “reasonable” gun control. The same year, Hoffman wrote a letter to former House Speaker John Boehner, urging him to also support gun measures.
Hoffman, a former Republican National Committee finance chair and ambassador to Portugal, further rankled Republicans in 2013 when he said President Barack Obama was right on gun issues, Hoffman made the comment after most Senate Republican and a few red-state Democrats blocked legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers.
Hoffman alluded to past mass shootings in his email after the deaths of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. He said future gun massacres are inevitable without government intervention, according to the New York Times report.
“If we go from Orlando to Las Vegas, and now Parkland, you just have to know that there are others around the country just dreaming about staging another mass murder.”
Republican lawmakers in Florida have pushed back on gun control initiatives, despite the state being the site of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando -- the second-worst mass shooting in U.S. history that left 49 dead. Only the October shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas claimed more lives, with 58 killed.
The day after the Parkland shooting last week, Senate President Joe Negron said his interest would be focused on improving school safety and access to mental health treatment – not restricting gun laws.
“My focus is on making sure that lawful citizens who are obeying the law and entitled to their constitutional rights have appropriate access to firearms,” Negron said.
Although several gun bills were introduced during the state’s ongoing legislative session, the only one likely to pass -- HB 1419 and its companion SB 1048 -- expands the rights of a licensed person to carry a concealed weapon inside a church or other house of worship.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel blasted politicians after a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school, saying that if gun laws don’t change, “you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”
According to the Huffington Post, while speaking at a vigil in Parkland for the victims of the shooting, Israel said, “If you’re an elected official, and you want to keep things the way they are ― if you want to keep gun laws as they are now ― you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”
The vigil was attended by thousands at an amphitheater that was lit by candles and had 17 4-foot angels – one for each of the victims who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Last week, Israel called on lawmakers to allow law enforcement officers to involuntarily detain people who post questionable and disturbing content on social media.
“We need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals at that particular time, involuntarily, and have them examined,” he said, the Huffington Post reported. “People are going to be rightfully concerned about their rights ― as am I. But what about these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to schools?”
He added that he wishes law enforcement officials could act “if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood and gore and guns and bombs, if they see something, horrific language, if they see a person talking about ‘I want to grow up to be a serial killer.’”
Democrats in Congress are already calling for gun control while Republicans are saying that it’s too soon to talk about it.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said during a press conference Thursday that we need to think less about fighting “each other politically” in the wake of the shooting.
“This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings,” he said Thursday at a news conference, according to CNN. “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together. This House, and the whole country, stands with the Parkland community.”
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., tweeted that Congress should vote on measures to implement “universal background checks, a ban on military-style weapons and a prohibition of those on the terror watchlist from purchasing firearms.”
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said Congress will have “another round” of this debate, but admitted that it’s hard to get any sort of gun legislation passed.
Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Florida, went on the news Saturday to talk about the so-called “Sentinel Program” as a possible legislative response to mass shootings like the one that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week, that left 17 dead.
Judd called the program a “game changer” by arming select educators whose backgrounds have been vetted thoroughly, who have been psychologically evaluated and trained in weapons more intensely than law enforcement by state standards.
The sheriff argued that the solution is not something he wants, but it’s something that must happen.
“We have got to wake up, wake up and understand that we have to have … specially trained people that have concealed firearms that can run to the threat and protect our children,” he said.
“Do you know that there is gun control on every campus in Florida -- and, I would submit, across the United States -- that you can’t bring a gun on campus. And no one does, except the crazed person, the active shooter. There has to be a line of defense,” Judd said.
“There’s no absolutes in life, but I can tell you this: At least two coaches were killed standing in front of and trying to protect kids. Don’t you believe it would be a game-changer if they had a gun to defend the children?”
Students and parents have responded to the mass shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz by calling for stricter guns laws in Florida.
Many participating in the #NeverAgain campaign seem to agree that they don’t want to arm teachers, but want “genuine, lasting change.”
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