[UPDATE] FSU Father Speaks Out Against Loosening Gun Laws

By: Jill Chandler Email
By: Jill Chandler Email

UPDATE 3/9/11

Florida Police Chiefs issued a release stating their opposition to Senate Bill 234. The open letter can be found in PDF format above.

UPDATE

As students are still shocked by Ashley Cowie's death, lawmakers are reviewing legislation that would make it legal for people with a concealed weapons license to have their guns on campus. Ashley's family and friends said passing the bill would be a big mistake.

Dr. Robert Cowie remembers his daughter with the fondest memories. "She was in the school of interior design, a sophomore, on the deans list," he said.

Dr. Robert Cowie spoke in front of a Senate committee Tuesday to make sure other families don't have to endure a tragedy like the one his family is faced with.

Cowie apologized for reading off of his notes Tuesday, but still couldn't hold back his emotions. His hands were shaking and tears filled the eyes of people in the audience.

"There's a lot of emotion in there. I hope it resonated with the Senators, because this wasn't sort of facts and figures, this was a personal incident where someone lost a loved one," said Dustin Daniels, Student Body President at Florida State.

Police believe Evan Wilhelm was under the influence of alcohol when he accidentally shot and killed Dr. Cowie's daughter Ashley.

Dr. Cowie told Senators he believes guns on campus should be left for campus police, not students. He says students are all too frequently drinking and doing drugs.

Florida State Police Chief David Perry said, "It's our job to police the campus and keep them safe. It's not the students."

The NRA is on record supporting this bill, and when asked their spokesperson to comment on Dr. Cowie's testimony today she took off the microphone and refused to speak.

And the NRA seems to also have the support of Florida's Governor.

Governor Rick Scott said, "I believe in the right to bear arms. I believe its a fundamental right, and I will defend the right to bear arms."

But Dr. Cowie hopes his message will help spread the word. He said, "If the voters in their home districts understand what the senators are being faced to vote upon, they will be overwhelmed with emails, and phone calls, and letters to their senators to vote against this."

The bill was temporarily postponed Tuesday. Ashley's classmates were not able to speak against the bill, but legislators allowed Dr. Cowie to speak since he traveled from the Jacksonville area. The bill will be brought up again during session.
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The father of an FSU student killed in an accidental shooting testifies before a senate committee.

20-year-old Ashley Cowie was shot and killed on January 9th, and now her father is speaking out to help prevent other families from having to endure the grief he's dealing with.

Senate Bill 234 would allow guns on college campuses in Florida. Chairman Greg Evers postponed the bill, but they allowed Ashley Cowie's father to testify.

This morning, Dr. Robert Cowie told senators that safety on campus should be left to police officers. He says college aged students, who are exposed to drugs and alcohol should not be permitted to carry guns on campus.

Evan Wilhelm was under the influence of alcohol when he accidentally shot and killed Ashley Cowie.

Several of Ashley's classmates showed up for today's hearing to support her family. The students have vowed to fight against the bill to keep it from becoming law.

As Dr. Cowie testified he was shaking, and told everyone he had to go by his notes because he would be overcome by emotion. Many in the audience were wiping tears from their eyes as they heard the emotional story.

Dr. Cowie said almost two years ago he dropped Ashley off for college and helped unload her boxes, and he didn't realize he'd be bringing her home in a different box.

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Senate 234: Firearms

GENERAL BILL by Evers; (CO-INTRODUCER) Dockery

Firearms; Provides that a person in compliance with the terms of a concealed carry license may carry openly notwithstanding specified provisions. Allows the Division of Licensing of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to take fingerprints from concealed carry license applicants. Limits a prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon or firearm into an elementary or secondary school facility, career center, or college or university facility to include only a public elementary or secondary school facility or administration building, etc.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011


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