Bill For Concealed Carry Could Bring Guns To Florida Campuses

By Kiara Beard on February 9, 2015

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GAINESVILLE, FL – A recently introduced bill could permit college students who have concealed-carry permits to bring guns onto Florida’s public campuses.

Tuesday evening in Tallahassee, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 8-4 to move House Bill 4005 forward. Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican from Sarasota, filed the bill in December 2014.

Andy Pelosi, director in the campaign to keep guns off campus, believes bringing concealed weapons onto Florida’s campuses could risk the safety of students.

“The typical person that has a concealed weapons permit does not have the type of tactical training that a police officer or law enforcement has,” he said.

Back in November, gunman Myron May opened fire on Florida State’s library. Pelosi believes circumstances could’ve been worse had an armed student intervened.

“There would’ve been additional people killed, because there could’ve been a crossfire,” he said. “Campuses should really be looking at other ways to defend themselves.”

The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus has been actively urging colleges and universities across the United States to fight against concealed firearms on campus.

Zachary Zalneraitis, director of public relations for Students for Concealed Carry and a University of Florida graduate, said prohibiting guns on Gainesville’s accessible campus is a safety concern.

“Right now, the only people who have weapons on campus are intent on committing a crime,” he said.

Faculty, staff and visitors on Florida’s campuses would also be permitted to carry a concealed weapon, according to Zalneraitis.

“If the gun-free zones aren’t preventing any crimes, and the schools can’t guarantee the safety of the students, we think that they shouldn’t deny the students the option of providing for their own defense by carrying a concealed firearm,” he said.

If the bill passes, there would still be restrictions in place for sporting events, according to Zalneraitis.

Students for Concealed Carry is an organization that started in 2007 after the shooting at Virginia Tech that killed 32 people and injured 17. Their goal is to maximize the number of university and college campuses who permit concealed-carry licenses.

In order for HB 4005 to take affect, it must pass through the Higher Education and Workforce Committee and the Judiciary Committee before heading to the House.

Both the House and Senate bills have an effective date as early as July 1.

I'm a University of Florida journalism junior. I love to write about all things Florida Gators and the ever-eventful Gainesville, FL. I'm an organic food enthusiast and routinely share recipes on my blog. I look forward to sharing my stories with you.

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