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Florida school-massacre panel: Arm teachers!

Students are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida (Photo: Voice of America)

Teachers should be allowed to carry concealed guns on campus to stop future shootings, a panel investigating the Florida high school massacre recommended Wednesday.

In a 13-1 vote, the Associated Press reported, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission urged the Legislature to allow the arming of teachers who volunteer and undergo extensive background checks and training.

The panel concluded that having one or two police officers or armed guards on campus is not sufficient to stop the kind of shooting that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

A Florida law already allows districts to arm non-teaching staff members such as principals, librarians and custodians.

The chairman of the commission, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, pointed out that the suspect in the Feb. 14 shooting, Nikolas Cruz, stopped to reload his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle five times.

At each of those moments of reloading, an armed teacher would have had the opportunity to shoot him, the sheriff argued.

“We have to give people a fighting chance, we have to give them an opportunity to protect themselves,” Gualtieri said, according to the Associated Press.

“One good guy with a gun on campus is not enough.”

The state teachers union and PTA are opposed to arming teachers.

The lone no vote was by commissioner Max Schachter, whose 14-year-old son Alex died in the massacre.

Schachter favors hiring more police officers for campuses and allowing non-teaching staff to carry guns, the AP reported.

“We do need more good guys with a gun on campus — nobody understands that and wishes we had more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas than myself,” Schachter said.

He contended arming teachers “creates a host of problems.”

Teachers in 28 states are allowed to carry firearms, according to the nonprofit Crime Prevention Research Center.