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8 Weeks After FSU Shooting, House Panel Approves Concealed Guns on Florida Campuses

| January 21, 2015

Lower education. (Michael Tefft)

Lower education. (Michael Tefft)

In the wake of a shooting on the Florida State University campus just a few miles away and after an hour of sometimes-emotional debate, a House panel Tuesday approved a bill that would allow concealed weapons to be carried at colleges and universities.


The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 8-4 along party lines to pass the measure (HB 4005), which would allow anyone with a concealed-carry permit to have a weapon — usually a firearm — on campus. Currently, people are banned from carrying such weapons at Florida colleges and universities, with the exception of stun guns or similar devices.

But Rep. Greg Steube, the Sarasota Republican sponsoring the bill, said the new measure would empower the likely small number of college students who have concealed-weapons licenses to defend themselves and their fellow students. Steube said only 2,271 of the state’s 21-year-olds have concealed-weapons licenses; no one under 21 is allowed to receive a permit. There are almost 1.2 million college students in Florida.

State data show that 246,632 Floridians between the ages of 21 and 35 have the permits, according to an analysis of the bill by legislative staff.

Steube said he had worked on the legislation before the shooting at FSU in November, but the attack highlighted the need for the bill. Only the gunman was killed in that incident, though one of the three victims of the shooting was paralyzed from the waist down.


A Legislature that bans weapons under its roof would allow them in classrooms.


“What I’m trying to do is prevent further loss of life by giving God-fearing and law-abiding citizens who have gone through background checks and all the things they have to do to get a (permit) to be able to defend themselves and their family,” Steube told the committee.

Supporters said current law actually makes students on campus less safe.

“This bill eliminates a possible pool of victims,” said Brant Hargrove, a member of the public who spoke in support of the legislation. “Predators know where victims are. They’re in places where people cannot defend themselves.”

But opponents, including several students and faculty members who showed up to argue against the legislation, said drugs, alcohol and stress prevalent on college campuses made the atmosphere particularly bad for allowing guns.

“I can only imagine walking through mid-terms week or finals week and being afraid, because these people, at times, college students break down, especially when they’re in engineering and in the sciences and mathematics,” said John Quiroz, a 22-year-old political-science student at the University of South Florida. “I just want to remind you all that these are young men and women trying to better themselves. They don’t need … this constant fear of violence being on their college campuses.”

Marjorie Sanfilippo, an associate dean of faculty at Eckerd College, said she often has to deal with angry students — and sometimes asks campus security officials to be on hand. She also pointed out that concealed weapons aren’t allowed at legislative meetings.

“That protects you,” she said. “I only ask that you give us the same respect in college settings.”

But Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said the presencesof drugs, alcohol and parties at college campuses argued for the bill.

“Folks, if you’re living in that kind of environment, you better carry a firearm. Because you could get raped, beaten, or worse,” he said.

Steube’s bill still has to clear the Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee before heading to the full House. A Senate version (SB 176) hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing in any of its four committee stops.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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39 Responses for “8 Weeks After FSU Shooting, House Panel Approves Concealed Guns on Florida Campuses”

  1. Monica Campana says:

    My heart is in my throat. I have an 18 year old child at a Florida public university. Sorry – this will NOT make me worry less about her. What is wrong with our legislators???

    • Rob Hernandez says:

      Monica, You should be happy your 18 yo “adult” son/daughter is now safer than ever, since schools are primary target (as gun free zones) of mass shootings. take the time to read this link and learn that law abiding legal gun owners are just that…law abiding and value life more than others, reason they carry is to protect life, not take life. I know, I carry.

      http://bearingarms.com/hes-got-gun-florida-man-tackles-concealed-carrier-arrested-battery/

    • Fred Thompson says:

      Not a damn thing. It has been shown time and time again that Gun-Free Zones don’t work. (Columbine, West Virginia, Newtown, FSU) With legal CCW Carry states that allow at Colleges as well, NOT ONE mass shooting has occurred after passage of similar legislature. Know the facts. If you really worry about your daughter, allow individuals to protect her and you train her in self-defense so when she becomes 21, she can take her own personal protection into her own hands, just as I am doing training for my CCW as we speak. I experienced a swatting incident at my institution where I had nothing to defend myself but my bare hands. Had the shooter not been a hoax, I would be dead because I would not be able to defend myself, nor anyone around me been 21 and have a CCW permit but not have any weapons on them. Don’t play off emotions. Use facts and history just as Rep. Steube did in his bill. I fully support this going through to the House Floor

    • Rich7553 says:

      Monica, criminals carry guns on campus illegally now. How will preventing a 21 or older adult who has been fingerprinted, background checked, and trained endanger your daughter any more than she is already?

      • Brian Michaels says:

        Spot on Rich7553! When will people come to the hard reality that criminals don’t care about the law, by definition. I’m also tired of ignorant, anti-gun people, trying to dictate where and when I can defend myself. I would recommend that every person, that is qualified to obtain a CCW permit, do so. The training that you will receive might help you understand and respect the advantages of carrying a firearm.

    • Eddie says:

      I would worry more about her from the criminals and not the ones who are the protectors from said criminals. I am a college student…I am in my 40s…I am getting my concealed, and if it is legal to carry on my campus, I will be sure doing that. I would rather take a chance and save someone else’s child than see everyone in a room perish at the hands of a psycho. You should be thanking the legislators.

    • nick noga says:

      the whole premise of concealed carry is LAW ABIDING CITIZENS
      if there are adults at your college who have a carry permit your Daughter is safer because the decision to carry a weapon is not something to taken lightly
      Adults who carry weapons are Law abiding citizens who do not want to be victims and are people who will protect others should the need arise

    • Marshall says:

      You do realize that they must be “21” to get a permit…right? Besides, would you rather have someone that has taken Firearms Training and is a Legal Law Abiding Adult or a Criminal running around with a Firearm. Criminals DO NOT care about the law and look for Gun Free Zones as a place to commit their crimes. They pick Gun Free Zones because they know they will not face any armed resistance. Out of the States that do allow Campus Carry, there have been NO Issues reported at any of them. Just knowing that Firearms may be present in the hands of Law Abiding Citizens can cause Criminals to go somewhere else. If you research the School Shootings, you will see that the Murderers pick Gun Free Zones.

      And you ask “What is wrong with our Legislators???” and that answer is Absolutely NOTHING. They are looking out for the best interest and safety of our Students. They know that when Seconds Count that Law Enforcement is always Minutes Away.

      Besides, I carry a Firearm everywhere that is legal, because a Cop is too heavy to put in my pocket!

    • Patrick Hauver says:

      Why do you think that these murders choose schools and daycares??!! They have plenty of victims that cannot shoot back! Now most likley they will go somewhere else or a different state.

    • Greg Sinadinos says:

      I am a father attending FSU. Age 22. I was there that night of the shooting. I am currently a senior. I was posted up by an entrance with a pocket knife incase the shooter decided to take the stairs to our floor after texting my wife that I love her and my daughter, that someone had just fired shots downstairs. I am also a concealed carry permit holder. What if your daughter had been on my floor? What if they had decided to come up to the floor we were both on? I would have either stood there between him and her with either the firearm I train with every Saturday at Talon Shooting Range, or my 2.5″ pocket knife that I was holding that night.

      On top of that, having firearms banned from campus does not make anyone more safe. If a potential wrongdoer has already decided on something, a ban isn’t going to stop them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look up facts about when florida allowed concealed carry in the 90’s

  2. wondering says:

    FlaglerLive- Why would you show an open carry gun on a person when this is about the concealed carry anonymity that strikes fear in predators that hunt and victimize the defenseless public?

    The beauty of concealed carry is that criminals will never know if their victim can defend themselves or their neighbors, coworkers or fellow students. That kind of security and fear can never be provided by law enforcement or campus police.

  3. Mike Duncan says:

    All for legal owners to carry their firearms for defense on themselves and others. Anyone who hasn’t accepted that we live in violent times and should be ready to defend ourselves from those who would do us harm are living in a dream and should continue the hide under that rock their under.

  4. Lancer says:

    Great points, Wondering!

    The anti-gun establishment can be defeated very simply and logically.

    When asked if they want law enforcement to be disarmed as well…the answer “no”.

    Who do criminals propose a greater threat to…ordinary citizens or law enforcement?? Overwhelmingly, criminals target the innocent and unarmed among us…soft targets.

    As long as mad and evil men target innocents with gun…there will be only good and armed people to stop their violence.

    • John says:

      The problem with that is that police are highly trained how use their guns, and train often, both on stationary targets and also in high stress drills. The average person has no where near the same training as the police. I would have absolutely no problem with this if, in order to get a conceal weapons permit, you needed to go through the same training as police. And show your proficiency yearly to keep your permit. With great power, comes great responsibility. And I don’t feel the current level of concealed permit training does that.

  5. Eddie Zee says:

    I carried on my ankle for 30 years, no one ever knew about it.

  6. Brandon says:

    Statistically, CWFL holders like my self (21) are extremely law abiding citizens. Fewer than one percent of us have ever committed a crime. You have nothing to fear. And part of HB4005 is to also make open carry legal.

  7. Constitution says:

    Why do I have to have the permission from my government to do what is legal anyway? Shall not be infringed is pretty damn clear, the feeling of people do not deter the right of a lawful citizen.

  8. Sherry Epley says:

    Right On Monica. . . how in the world can our future generations do their best in school when they live and study in an environment of those surrounding them armed to the teeth with concealed weapons! What a world. . . where FEAR and DISTRUST dictates our society!

    • Donald says:

      Have you read any of the other posts Sherry?! College campuses are already filled with people carrying guns”illegally”. Our future generations are already in danger now because they can’t defend themselves. The Illegal carriers will think twice now about attacking the defenseless, because they won’t be so defenseless. Your son or daughter will be more safe once this bill is made law.

  9. Mike Duncan says:

    Fear and distrust existed well before any of us. Just because a concept is new to you doesn’t mean it never existed before. Criminals will commit crimes with whatever is handy. Why not protect yourself with the same weapon that your being threatened with? Fire with fire? We all know what happens when you bring a knife to a gun fight…

  10. Dimensio says:

    This terrible legislation will encourage criminals who thus far have avoided committing firearm-related crimes on college campus due to existing bans.

  11. JimBob says:

    This will certainly facilitate scooter thefts by the FSU football team.

  12. Sherry Epley says:

    YES, Donald. . . never mind that Australia has drastically lowered their murder rate by buying back the majority of guns in that country. Never mind that with our escalating gun ownership ours is often thought of as the most dangerous first world country on the planet! Never mind that since our civilians are armed to the teeth, our police are forced to adapt their military US or THEM attitude. We are in an internal arms race in this country. . . where will it end? Bazookas at 10 paces? The only winner in all of this is the NRA and the gun manufacturers . . . laughing all the way to the bank! Violence begets violence!

  13. VeteranStudent says:

    I am a Navy Veteran, I am 34, I am a CCW holder, and I’m a student. I have to disarm myself in the parking lot of my institution everyday, and sit through my classes with an empty holster. Not all of us college students are “stressed out, drunk, drugged up 21 year olds”. Actually Many of my fellow students that ARE 21 are very responsible because those that partied too hard are already academically expelled. Perhaps you should think about the MANY returning veterans that are in schools right now and think about how the nations sons and daughters are sitting next to your children in class everyday willing to do what they’re trained to do, but unable to have the tools.

  14. Dwain says:

    To those above who do not understand personal safety…. I take my personal safety, the safety of my family and my daughter (whom of which is currently at a major university in FL) seriously. Law abiding citizens are the only people that are unarmed on campus. The legislation just changed recently to allow firearms in the POV but that does not do any good if needed. Ask your self this.. if guns were not to be carried on campus why did the person who did the shouting do it? He was not following the law. Criminals do not follow laws. This has been proven time and time again.

    The only way to level the field against criminals is to put fear in them of the unknown.. in this case the unknown number of law abiding citizens that may or may not have protection with them when the criminal comments a crime. I applaud the house for passing this…

  15. D says:

    This is stupid .. A student with a concealed- whose carrying – being close enough to an assault compared to a highly trained officer whose usually always around the corner .. Come on . So instead were just going to have hundred of kids walking around with guns – its not like you can stop and say let me see your concealed to one of them .. Your going to feel way more uncomfortable if the thug looking or crazy looking kid in front of you in class is sitting there with a bulge in his pocket that you know is a gun everyday or the two of them get into a fight and start shooting because they have the righht to defend themselves – sincerely a florida state alumni and concealed weapons license holder –

  16. Jon Hardison says:

    Guns don’t bother me. I’ll need to read the legislation, but this + stand your ground + + +…
    What, if any impact does this have on the additional penalties associated with carrying on school grounds?
    Are they okay and sporting events now?

    There are going to be a LOT more guns on campus and when you consider the living situation and limited financial resources of the vast majority of students… We may be creating a new problem. Guns will be left in cars (cuz you can’t bring them into bars), left in drawers in dorm rooms (because there is no place to lock anything up). Parents will depend some assurances that their child’s room is gun free. Assurances the school won’t be able to provide.

    Then there’s the obvious question. You’re not supposed to acquire a firearm for someone else, but many “law abiding citizens” break this rule because we don’t have a registry so there’s no way to know. What happens when permit holders, that can now legally have their guns on campus, start purchasing guns for friends? Permit holders don’t have a waiting period.

    I’m a permit holder myself so I’m not anti gun. But this? This seams like a blatant attempt to market guns to kids. My 22 year old can’t handle a relationship or credit card, but I’m supposed to be okay with him handling someone else’s life?

    Guns aren’t the answer to everything.

  17. john says:

    Im a senior in hs and will be heading off to college soon. I hope this gets passed, when I turn 21 I plan on getting my ccw permit so i can better defend myself, my friends, and my family, but what good does that do you if you would be stuck on campus for most of the year where guns are banned.

  18. Prof. Laser says:

    Lasers……..Give the kids “lethal lasers” . DONE !!!

  19. Eugene Hartke says:

    Soon, the citizens of Florida will be allowed to carry guns everywhere except for our State Legislature, where our Representatives will continue to cower behind their metal detectors and armed guards.

  20. Jake says:

    Ok I was one of the students studying at Strozier (FSU) library when the gunman attacked, I am also 23 and have my CCW license in Florida but obviously did not have my weapon on me because it is illegal, I cannot begin to describe how helpless you feel in that situation when you know there is a man with a gun shooting people in the same building as you and all you have to defend yourself is a stack of books. I lived it first hand and If he made it to the floor me and my friends were hiding in we would have been killed, we were in a place that consists solely of “fatal funnels” with nothing for defense. I pray that this gets passed

  21. Vivian says:

    Lol and then we wonder why Florida is the biggest joke of a state

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