(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Florida Gov. Rick Scott, foreground, speaks along with Sheriff Scott Israel, center, of Broward County, and Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General, during a news conference near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The sheriff of the Florida county where a shooter killed 17 people at a high school last week has ordered all deputies who qualify to begin carrying rifles on school grounds.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference Wednesday that the rifles will be locked in a patrol car when not in use until the agency secures gun locks and lockers.
The sheriff said the school district's superintendent fully supports his decision.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High's school resource officer was carrying a weapon when the shooting happened last week but did not discharge his firearm. It's unclear what role he played in trying to thwart the shooter and whether he was aware of suspect Nikolas Cruz's past behavior at the school. The sheriff said those details are still being investigated.
About 30 people demanding a conversation about gun legislation have begun a sit-in protest at the office of four Florida House Republican leaders.
Fifteen-year-old Tyrah Williams said Wednesday that she wants to know why they won't consider bills to create more gun restrictions.
The sophomore at Leon High School, which is walking distance to the Capitol, says the leaders were not talking to the protesters, "so we're just sitting till they speak."
The Leon County school superintendent allowed students to leave class to take part in an anti-gun rally outside the Capitol. Williams said she would have attended even if he didn't.
Democratic candidate for governor Chris King was among two busloads of people who drove up from Orlando and St. Petersburg for an anti-gun rally. He acknowledged that if he were elected, gun-control measures probably wouldn't pass the Republican-controlled Legislature but said he would be in a position to veto expansions of gun rights.