By Serennah Thomas /
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ttempts by the Florida State Legislature to make a law that will require public colleges and universities in Florida to abandon their gun free zones label is attracting the ire of most stakeholders within the state’s college system and, in the forefront of this fight to upturn the moves by state congress are some college administrators and faculty organizations.
According to the United Faculty of Florida, “House Bill 4001 and its senate companion (SB 68) would, if signed into law, allow concealed weapons on Florida’s public college and university campuses (note that the bill does not affect private colleges and universities and, unlike similar bills passed in other states, this law does not provide individual campuses an opportunity to “opt out”). Senator Evers has simultaneously introduced Senate Bill 72, euphemistically titled the School Safety Bill, which would allow school superintendents to designate individuals allowed to carry concealed weapons in K-12 public schools.”
Although the current session of the Florida Legislature may not vote on this bill, should the bill pass in the future, it will effectively delete from the statute books a previous provision “prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying a handgun or carrying a concealed weapon or firearm into a college or university facility.”
Students think that carrying a concealed weapon on campus may have both advantages and disadvantages. However, the majority of the students at Seminole State College that shared their opinions on this matter seemed to be indecisive on whether or not weapons should be allowed on campus.
A few pointed out that most college students are under the age allowed by the law for an individual to own a gun legally. The gun law in Florida says that resident and non-resident applicants have to be 21 years of age and older. No student right out of high school, who will likely be either 17 or 18 years, can therefore carry a gun on campus.
Others are of the view that, should the bill pass the floor of the House, any and all concealed weapons should be checked by college authority for reassurance.
Seminole State College student, Ashley Williams is not in favor of carrying concealed weapons because it could lead to frequent and unnecessary mass shooting on campus like the ones on other college campuses stating. However, if guns were allowed, “It would be more difficult for a gunman to go through with his plan because students would be able to protect themselves and others as well. Perhaps, the knowledge that there may be concealed weapon licensees on campus will stop the incident from occurring.”
DaQuan Phillips, another Seminole State student said, “It would be a sense of security but it would be a distraction to other students on campus because you do not know others’ intentions.” He also stated that, if he were to bring a gun to campus, he would not take it to class with him but he would have it in his car as a precautionary measure.
Some opine that students should only be able to carry guns on campus and have them out only if there is a college lock down or if there are any suspicious activities that may occur.
Seminole State student, Ashley Nelson said “I personally don’t have a problem with guns, as long as they are used for protection just in case there may be an intruder. However, if a person goes crazy and brings a gun to campus just because they’re allowed, that’s when it can go very wrong.”
- Serennah Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org