Bob Gualtieri’s blunt defense of arming school personnel: ‘It’s going to happen again’

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is defending his support of the Guardian Program that allows teachers, faculty or other school staff to carry guns on campus if they meet a set of rigorous criteria.

The program has been controversial as gun control advocates and other advocacy organizations rally against what they see as a dangerous attempt to arm teachers. Such opponents favor instead implementing stricter gun regulations such as better background checks and banning assault weapons

During an emotional presentation to Pinellas County Commissioners on Tuesday that lasted nearly an hour and a half, Gualtieri made a case for the Guardian Program saying harm mitigation is the best way to address gun violence in schools. 

“There is one thing we know for sure and three questions that follow that,” Gualtieri said. “It is going to happen again.”

The statement was blunt, and its implication hung in the air with cold reality. The questions, Gualtieri said, were when and where the next tragedy would occur. 

“The most important question is the third question — what are we doing differently today to drive a different outcome?” Gualtieri asked.

He didn’t get into the gun control debate, but

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