Will campus guns be a major Issue in the Florida Legislature in 2015?
By Roger Caldwell
There is a fight brewing in Florida and many people argue that guns should be allowed on college campuses. To begin with, this is an absurd notion because many students are too young to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. But common sense does not prevail when conservatives and Republicans start talking about their guns.
Last week, the Senate Criminal Justice committee ruled in favor of a bill that would repeal the current prohibition of concealed weapons on campuses. There were three Republicans that voted to repeal the law, and two Democrats who voted to keep the prohibition on weapons on college campuses. At this point, the bill is in the committees in the Senate, and there is an identical House bill that is being sponsored by Republican state Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota.
There are seven states that now allow concealed weapons on campuses, and they believe it is a matter of constitutional rights. “I don’t think that for a lawful concealed weapon holder, the inherent right to self-defense should be stripped at the entrance of a college or university,” said Rep. Steube.
But this proposal is opposed by university presidents, and they argue that students should not regard every student as a potential adversary with a gun. This kind of thinking takes all Floridians back to the wild, wild west where everyone carried a gun in their holster, and was ready to use it. There is even a lawsuit in the courts now, and a defendant is arguing that they should be allowed to carry guns in the open public.
Florida was the state that had the most concealed weapons permits in the country in 2013. I am not sure of the numbers in 2014, but in all probability the state is probably first or second. Governor Scott is extremely proud of this statistic because he believes that Floridians have a right to bear arms. So, I assume that the governor is a supporter of students carrying guns on college campuses as long as they have a valid permit.
At the present time, college campuses are one of the safest places in the country to live. But, promoting a bill that would allow students to carry concealed weapons is creating a dangerous situation. In order to apply for a permit for a concealed weapon in Florida, the individual must be 21 years old.
On college campuses, most students are too young to apply for permits, and I think the older students are still too immature or too drunk to carry a concealed weapon. Our legislators are opening up a can of worms which could create more problems that the state does not need.
Let the students study and learn about the world, and keep the campuses gun-free. There are now over a million gun permit holders in Florida, and many are shooting first and asking questions later. There are too many guns in Florida, and people all over the country come to Florida to get concealed weapons permits because they are so easy to get.