FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tallahassee, FL – Later today, (4pm) the Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will hold a hearing on HB 4005, a bill sponsored by Rep. Gregory Stuebe (R) Sarasota, to allow concealed handguns on college campuses.
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus issued the following statement in connection with HB 4005 and today’s hearing before the Criminal Justice Subcommittee:
“We strongly oppose Representative Stuebe’s legislation (HB 4005/SB 176), which would change current law and allow loaded, concealed handguns to be carried anywhere on Florida’s public university and community college campuses including classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, dormitories, and sports arenas. Currently, Florida law gives the Board of Trustees at public universities and community colleges the authority to place reasonable restrictions on access to firearms within college-owned or controlled buildings and grounds (excluding parking lots).
While we fully understand that the latest impetus behind Rep. Stuebe’s bill is the shooting at Florida State University on November 20th, where three students were injured, one severely, we believe allowing non-law enforcement personnel to carry loaded, concealed handguns on campus will only create an unsafe and volatile environment for all Floridians.
College campuses are generally safe environments. Our colleges and universities should be havens for learning, where students, faculty, staff and visitors should not need to worry about the threat of gun violence on their campuses. The campus environment should be one where additional risks are not created, such as adding loaded, concealed handguns that can be carried by students, faculty and staff.
College age students are at the peak of their risk for suicide, manifestation of mental illness, as well drug and alcohol experimentation. Introducing firearms into this scenario creates a major public health risk. To those who argue that concealed carry permit holders can either deter crime or stop an active shooting situation, our response is that the vast majority of permit holders do not possess the tactical training required of law enforcement officials. In fact, campus and municipal law enforcement are strongly opposed to allowing people to carry weapons on campus.
Furthermore, we are concerned about the application of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law and the potential for concealed carry holders on campus to invoke this misguided and racially biased defense. College officials should also be wary of how they could be impacted legally if someone invokes Stand Your Ground and a victim’s family decides to pursue legal action against a school for negligence.
In closing, Florida’s higher education officials are the ones most qualified to determine the safety requirements for their campus, including restricting guns only to certified law enforcement officers.”
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN TO KEEP GUNS OFF CAMPUS
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 400 colleges and universities in 41 states have joined the Campaign. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KeepGunsoffCampus or on Twitter at @KeepGunsoffCamp
Contact: Kathryn Grant, Georgia/Florida State Director (404-759-9959)
Andy Pelosi, Executive Director (914-629-6726)