Campus Carry Clears Committee

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UPDATE: 11-4-15 10:15 p.m.
By: James Buechele

Tallahassee Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow concealed carry gun owners to bring their weapons on campuses.

"Concealed-weapons permit holders are the most responsible group or people that we've ever studied," said the representative.

There are currently more than one million concealed carry permits in the state of Florida. If a new bill passes next year, those gun owners would be allowed to take their weapons onto college campuses statewide.

Rep. Edwin Narain was one of the opponents.

"It's no coincidence that almost every college campus police department college professor students and many sheriff's and even former law enforcement officers in this chamber have come out against this bill."

So what do you think? Leave a comment below.

By: Mike Vasilinda
November 4, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- One of the arguments for allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry on college campuses is that campuses are not safe. Required reports show arrests for 28 illegal weapons on Florida campuses last year.

Concealed carry supporters told lawmakers the idea of campuses as a safe haven is a myth.

FSU student Shayna Lopez-Rivas says she knows firsthand.

“Opposition has pushed in the past that campus are safe, but as someone who was brutally attacked and raped at knifepoint, I'm saying I don’t feel that way,” Lopez-Rivas told lawmakers.

Reports show there were 28 arrests or referrals for illegal weapons on the 12 state universities last year. 61 over the last three years.

One by one, opponents of concealed campus carry said they were worried about safety, but no one crystallized the thought better than FSU senior Daniela Fernandez.

“Students will be less inclined to debate, to learn, if guns are allowed on campus,” Fernandez said.

"So you are afraid that discussions get heated and someone pulls out a gun?” we asked.

“Yeah.”

On the other side, military veteran and now USF student Joshua Knezinek brought his wife and two children to the hearing. He told lawmakers he wants to go home at night.

“It is after hours. I do have a drive. I want to be able to have my weapon on campus, on myself. That way I can defend myself. That way in the event something happens, I get to go home to my family,” says Knezinek.

Sponsor Greg Stube reiterated that concealed carry permit holders seldom commit crimes. “Permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at rates less than a sixth of the rate that police officers are.”

Guns currently aren’t allowed in legislative meetings, but the bill's sponsor also want to change that.

The legislation is expected to easily clear the House again this year, but it appears to be stuck in the same Senate Committee that refused to take up campus carry earlier this year.



 
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