A Florida State Representative has filed a bill that would make it legal for people to carry a concealed handgun on college campuses in the Sunshine State.
According to the News Service of Florida, the measure is getting more attention due to the shooting incident last month at Florida State University that left three injured and the gunman dead, but Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota said he planned on sponsoring the measure even before that attack took place.
“I think it (the attack) brings it closer to home for people who think these events don’t occur in Florida, or that law enforcement can prevent them from happening,” Steube told The News Service of Florida on Tuesday.
A similar bill was introduced in 2011, but failed to pass due to another shooting at FSU that year, as well as opposition from then-Sen. John Thrasher, who is now president of FSU.
“(Thrasher is) the one who shut it down in the Senate,” Steube said. “It appears to be a very personal issue with him.”
As the News Service of Florida reports, a group called Students for Concealed Carry at FSU publicly called on Thrasher to alter his stance on permitting guns on campus in the wake of last month’s shooting. The group claims that Nathan Scott, a staffer at Strozier Library where the shooting occurred, is one of its members. The group also said Scott and another man who is an Army veteran, both had a “clear shot at the shooter” and could have ended the situation themselves, but could not do so under current state law.
“We have seen that the current “Gun-Free Zone” policies have done nothing to curb violence, both in our state and nationwide,” the group wrote in a Nov. 24 press release. “As criminals don’t abide by these policies, they only serve to prevent victims from having the ability to defend themselves and their peers.”
As MyFoxTampaBay notes, there are currently 20 states, including Florida, that ban concealed carry on college campuses. 23 other states allow the college or university to decide on their own. Seven states allow concealed carry on campus, most recently Idaho.
If passed, the bill could take effect as July 1 of next year, MyFoxTampaBay reports.
Read more: http://www.floridatoday.com
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