Attorneys: What if college students had guns?

Florida Carry: Students should be able to have instant reaction to shooters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The shooting at Florida State University has given gun rights attorneys new ammunition in their fight to allow students to carry weapons on campus.

As it stands, it's legal in the state of Florida for licensed students to keep their guns in their cars on universities, but attorneys want to take it one step further and make guns legal in classrooms.

If students were armed at FSU when the gunman opened fire in the library, could they have taken out the threat before police and prevented three injuries?

That's the argument attorneys with Florida Carry are making. They want students allowed to be armed in the classroom, and they're taking their fight to court.

Three to four minutes is how long it took for police to shoot and kill Myron May early Wednesday morning in front of the library. It may sound like a swift response time to some, but gun rights attorneys want an instant reaction.

"Any response time beyond a gun in your hand is too long," said attorney Eric Friday, of Florida Carry. "You wouldn't set your hair on fire and then wait for the fire department to put it out. You would grab a fire extinguisher."

Guns on campus poll

 Friday said several lawsuits are pending against Florida universities that refuse to allow students the right to carry weapons in class. In states like Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Kansas, Friday said, school shooting statistics are remarkably lower than the rest of the nation.

"Every state that allows law-abiding students to carry guns on campus, every one of those schools has not had a mass shooting since they enacted that rule," Friday said.

He said FSU president John Thrasher was instrumental in killing a bill that would have permitted guns on campus when he was a Florida senator. He said the three injured at FSU could have walked away unharmed if the students were armed. Meanwhile, students have mixed opinions.

"I definitely do think it could be used for the wrong reason, so I don't think people should be allowed to carry them," said Adam Dawson, a student at the University of North Florida.

"I think we're getting better reacting to something like this," student Ian Harvel said. "I think FSU did a great job. Luckily no one died, so I don't see enough reason to permit that."

"I feel like if students were armed in there, it would have gone down differently there," student William Gordon said. "I think the three students who got injured would not have got injured."

Florida Carry attorneys said school shooters avoid universities where students are allowed to carry weapons. They plan on continuing their fight in the courts and the Legislature.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.