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Politics

Campus Carry Discussions Begin This Week in Committee Hearings

September 11, 2015 - 7:45pm

The controversial legislation to allow firearms on college campuses will be brought back to legislative life Wednesday when it will be heard in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. 

The legislation (SB 68) filed by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, would allow anyone over the age of 21 with a concealed weapons permit to carry his or her firearm on public college grounds.

 
Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has filed a companion bill in the House, where it will also be heard next week.  
 
Evers' bill was one which caused a major commotion during 2015's regular legislative session. Students, university presidents and college police departments were among the groups that descended on Tallahassee to voice their opinion over the bill. 
 
The bill seemed as if it was on track for success. It handily won approval in the House. It won approval from many conservatives, and even typically liberal lawmakers came out in support of the legislation. 
 
Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasalinda, D-Tallahassee, was one lawmaker who crossed party lines to support the legislation, recalling a time when she used a gun to defend herself against an attacker attempting to rape her.  
 
But its relatively easy ride in the lower chamber saw some large bumps in the road on the Senate side. The bill was pulled from committee hearings and thus sent to the legislative guillotine. 
 
Now the bill is back with a vengeance. Lawmakers will debate it for the first time during next week's committee hearing. 
 
Supporters of the legislation have vowed they won't give up until state lawmakers pass the bill, setting the stage for what already appears to be a repeat of the passionate debate from earlier this year. 
 

Florida Carry Executive Director Sean Caranna told Sunshine State News he wasn’t disheartened after the bill’s death this year. Second Amendment supporters, he explained, would remain persistent.

“We are not going away,” he said. “This issue will come up year after year until we pass it.”

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer told NRA members the legislation was important for the safety of students. 

"The plain truth is, campuses are not safe," she wrote. "They are 'Gun-Free-Zones' where murderers, rapists, terrorists, and robbers may commit crimes without fear of being harmed by their victims."

University professors and presidents as well as students and college police departments, however, have expressed concerns over what might happen if guns are brought into an already stressful environment. Groups against guns on campus have also chimed in on what they feel is a dangerous law for college students. 

 

This is the latest example of extremism and a radicalized interpretation of the Second Amendment by gun lobby-backed legislators,” wrote The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus. 

 

The legislation will be heard at 9 a.m. Wednesday for the Senate version and at 10:30 a.m. for the House version. 

 

Regular session begins in January. 

 

 

Reach Allison Nielsen at allison@sunshinestatenews.com

Comments

This is a gun bill, not a self-defense bill. Since a person must be 21 to own a handgun and get a CCP, the majority of students are being told they have no right to self-defense. Add in Pepperspray and Tazers before any consideration. Then... consider the consequences. In a no gun zone, Law Enforcement knows everyone with a firearm is a criminal and LEOs have the freedom to handle them as such. Including shooting a non-compliant suspect. Add Citizen Responders and it gets complicated, quickly! Suddenly LEOs have to consider if the person with a firearm is a criminal or not. Citizen Responders and LEOs are at risk. A Citizen Responder could get shot for no/slow compliance and a LEO or a Citizen Responder could be gunned down by a criminal claiming to be a Citizen Responder or because the LEO hesitated to shoot someone who may have been a Citizen Responder. At the very least: Add Pepperspray and Tazers and require all CCP Citizen Responders to recieve compliance training to avoid possible conflict and/or deadly consequences because the Citizen Responder did not know how to react to lawful orders by Law Enforcement Officers.

"In a no gun zone, Law Enforcement knows everyone with a firearm is a criminal and LEOs have the freedom to handle them as such." And therein lies the problem. By the time LEO's arrive, there are already dead victims. No one is claiming that Campus Carry is a Cure-All.. But it is a tool to lower the incidence of violent crime, sexual assaults on Campus. Criminals tend to stay when the is the chance that their intended target may be armed. There are over 1 Million Law Abiding Citizens in Florida with CCW Permits. Why should any of them be required to give up their right to Self-Defense just to further their education.

Yea....Mike. You proved my point. Thanx. All about a gun, not self-defense. And what I said would ave made sense, except you either did not read it all, having shut down at the idea that a gun may not be a solution, or you just did not understand it. Everything said was sensible, reasonable. I din't say no guns. I said EVERYBODY should have the right to self-defense and called for the addition of Pepperspray and tazers. Both of which are also banned on many campuses. I pointed out what will happen. Your response didn't add to the conversation. Be part of the solution or part of the problem. Your NRA statement added nothing to the solution.

Pepperspray and Tazers for who ?? Anyone on Campus, or just those over 21 that choose not to own a firearm ??

Anyone. Right now, several campuses do not allow either. If guns get legalized on campus, so should non-lethal weapons. Thanx for asking a legit question

Please tell the class how a Taser® or pepper spray will stop someone with a gun. We'll wait..... *crickets chirping*

Another wing-nut... that thinks having nothing is better?

Mike. Put the whole pro-gun, anti-gun BS away. Read what I said, think about it. Then, ask a Law Enforcement Officer just how thrilled about entering a situation where there will be multiple people with guns. Some or 1 of whom may be an active shooter and the rest are Citizen Responders, without Law Enforcement training, running around with guns. Yea. Very few will be in favor of it as sorting out who is whom will get people shot. That's just a fact. CCP training is 1 day with a few rounds put downrange. LEOs receive weeks of training and have to re-test and shoot on a regular basis. In fact, the last time I heard of a Citizen Responder getting involved, shot dead by the criminal. Training.....

Dean, thrilling law enforcement officers is the last thing we should be concerned with. Having a lethal tool immediately at hand to defend against a violent attacker is the ONLY thing we should be concerned with. Nothing else compares in importance.

Oh BS. Nobody is talking about lowering the age for handguns to 18. Instead, everybody under 21 is left defenseless against everybody. What is an 18 supposed to do? Hope a 21 y/o with a gun is nearby? Wing-nut!

They learn at our knee, they expand that knowledge at our table, they fight our wars, they raise our Grandchildren, they perpetuate our family history and America's history,...Why not allow them to protect their lives if and when the necessity arrives and proves imminent; Our young adults ARE our future...and THAT "future" is NOW !

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