Florida Lawmakers Allow Guns In Capitol, Install Panic Buttons
December 8, 2011 by Sam Rolley
Since the Republican-dominated Legislature in Florida made it easier to carry guns in the State’s Capitol, Democrats are noting that every Senator and staffer has now had a panic button installed on his or her phone.
The new law says that local governments may not regulate guns, except in those places specified by Florida law. Although the State bans guns in legislative chambers and committee rooms, they can now be carried in other parts of the Capitol complex located in Tallahassee. Previously, entrants to the complex had been asked to leave their firearms at the door or be followed around the building by a guard.
Mike Haridopolos, the Republican Senate president, said the panic buttons were not a response to the new gun law, but a long-planned feature that was supposedly “just finally getting instituted.” But Democratic legislators in the State say that it is an odd coincidence, according to St. Petersburg Times.
A safety course recently offered to State employees by Capitol Police included an update on the law’s “impact on the Capitol” and “how to respond to an active shooter situation.”
“Instead of reversing what we did, we’re resorting to panic buttons,” said Florida Senate Democratic leader Nan Rich of Weston, who opposed the new gun law. “It’s unnerving. My staff is very nervous.”