State bills aim to allow guns on college campuses

Proposals in House, Senate follow on heels of campus shooting at FSU

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If new legislation being proposed in Tallahassee succeeds, it could soon be legal to carry a gun onto a Florida college campus.

On the heels of a campus shooting at Florida State University weeks ago, lawmakers want to legalize firearms on campus.

The push started with a bill being proposed in the Florida House by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. Now there's a separate companion bill pushing for the same thing in the Senate, proposed by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker.

Cord Byrd, a local gun rights attorney, said the bills are a good idea.

"Time and time again we know that a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun, and with the recent incident at Florida State University, fortunately the assailant was stopped," Byrd said. "Had they had their concealed weapons permit and could carry on campus, they might have been able to stop further violence from happening."

Students at the University of North Florida were a little more leery of the idea.

"I guess with recent events, I can see why people would think that or propose for that," said Zack Berry. "But it seems likely that accidents could happen, and I don't know, I think I would probably be against it."

Fellow UNF student Joshua Moews echoed that sentiment.

"I guess I'd be against it, mostly because I don't think guns on campus makes a lot of sense," Moews said. "We have law enforcement agents that carry those and protect us. Put trust in them."

There are some groups adamantly opposed to the bill who said they will fight it, including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Chryl Anderson is the group's local chair, who doesn't buy the argument that if legal gun owners are armed, they could stop the bad guys.

"There's no real proof of that," Anderson said. "That's a theory and, in fact, an anecdotal story I have is someone who has military experience and talks about those military trained men who are college aged. And sometimes their handling of a gun is difficult."

The bill only applies to people with concealed carry permits, so not just anyone would be able to carry a gun on campus if it passed.

It will be taken up in the legislative session next year. 

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