JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It is an issue that is talked about every time there is a shooting on a college campus.
Now it is being talked about, as the state Legislative session gets ready to begin in March.
A bill aimed at allowing students who hold concealed carry permits to carry their weapons with them on campus is being discussed in House and Senate committees right now. It passed a House subcommittee on Tuesday.
Some believe that in the wake of the shooting on the Florida State University campus last year, more legislators will be in favor of the bill.
The way the current law is written, anyone who holds a concealed carry permit is not allowed to carry their firearm on any college campus. A lawyer for Florida Carry says that if the current legislation passes, campuses will be a safer place for all students.
"Those states, their colleges, not one massive shooting. Criminals go where they can do the most damage. Where guns are allowed is not where they can do damage," said Eric Friday, general counsel for Florida Carry.
He says that people had the same concerns when concealed weapons permits first started being issued.
Friday says they are not asking for any privileges that conceal/carry holders do not already have elsewhere.
"Our students on campuses are currently defenseless," said Friday. "FSU police response time was four minutes approximately. The response time in most campus shootings is approximately four minutes. Guess what happens in four minutes? In four minutes a lot of people are dead."
"Most of the people with concealed carry permits not the ones committing crimes," said News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith.
Smith says that students carrying their own legal firearms on campus won't necessarily cause more mass shootings, but could pose a problem for law-enforcement if there is one.
"Once the police get there, we'll just see someone with a gun and they have to hesitate to find out if he's a good guy or bad guy. When a police officer has to hesitate, that could be deadly for the police officers," said Smith.
In a statement, Jacksonville University says "Jacksonville University prohibits possession, use or storage of any weapon on University property and at University-sponsored events, with the exception of law enforcement officers. Violation of this policy results in disciplinary actions up to and/or including suspension, dismissal and referral to local law enforcement authorities. JU believes this is the most effective current method in today's environment to ensure safety on our campus."
As for the legislation, it has a couple more committees to go through in the state House and Senate, before it can be taken up by the full Legislature in the upcoming session.