Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Wednesday said that deputies qualified to carry AR-15s will have them with them on campus moving forward, with the blessing of school officials.
Israel, sheriff in the county that saw 17 killed on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, told a news conference the school district’s superintendent, Robert Runcie, supports his decision to keep their rifles locked in school offices during the day, and take them home at night.
“It will be done safely,” Israel said. “Only deputies who are trained and qualified will carry those rifles. But we need to be able to defeat any threat that comes onto campus.”
One armed Broward County deputy, the school’s resource officer, was at Stoneman on the day of the shooting but did not have a rifle. When asked if the officer was able to use his handgun during the event, Israel said no and that his actions “will be looked at and scrutinized, as will everyone’s.”
While Israel is a fan of more AR’s in the hands of more law enforcement officers, he was very vocal about his feelings on gun control when it comes to the general public Wednesday night. As part of a CNN town hall event with Parkland shooting survivors that included Israel, the sheriff told the National Rifle Association’s Dana Loesch that “You’re not standing up for them [the survivors] until you say ‘I want less weapons.’”