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Floridians Say Overwhelming No to Guns On Campus, Big Yes to Medical Marijuana

| October 10, 2015

guns campus florida medical pot

Marijuana yes, guns no. (Coleen Whitfield)

In the months before gunfire erupted at an Oregon community college in a mass shooting that killed nine people and the gunman, Floridians were deeply skeptical of proposals that would allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus, according to a survey released this week by the University of South Florida.

The USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey, taken over the summer, also shows that a majority of Florida adults favor legalizing medical marijuana, though perhaps not in strong enough numbers to adopt an amendment to the state Constitution to allow pharmacological pot.

Almost three-quarters of Floridians — 73 percent — oppose allowing students with concealed-weapons permits to carry guns on campus, according to the survey. The poll was based on 1,251 interviews conducted from July 30 to Aug. 16 and has a margin of error of 2.77 percentage points.

The results were weighted to account for characteristics like race and gender.

Outside of support for permitting law-enforcement officers to wear body cameras, the finding on firearms on campus marked the strongest percentage in agreement among people surveyed on 16 issues.

“Clearly, this is one of the ones where there’s huge consensus comparatively,” said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at USF.

Lawmakers on both sides of the state Capitol have moved forward with bills (SB 68 and HB 4001) to allow firearms on campus. Proponents argue that the proposals would make colleges safer, while opponents question the need to allow weapons in the already stress-filled college environment.

MacManus said it seems unlikely that last week’s shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon would lead to shifts in support or opposition for the guns-on-campus idea.

“It probably wouldn’t change much, again, because of the ideological disposition in who supports each side of this,” she said.

Another hot-button issue with widespread agreement in Florida is backing for allowing state residents to use marijuana for medical purposes. A total of 55 percent of people surveyed support the idea, according to the poll. Adding an amendment to the state Constitution would require the support of 60 percent of Florida voters; the survey was not limited to registered voters.

The survey did show an increase in support for medical marijuana of 5 percentage points from a year ago. Other polls had shown higher figures in the run-up to a 2014 vote on medical marijuana before support seemed to fade. The ballot initiative ended up with 58 percent of the vote, just short of the 60 percent threshold.

A group the spearheaded the 2014 proposal is seeking to get a medical-marijuana initiative on the November 2016 ballot. MacManus said it was too early to tell whether the support could once again lag as a vote draws closer. She noted that supporters of the medical marijuana amendment have tweaked the proposal to address some of the concerns raised by critics last year.

“We do know that last time the consequence of better advertising by one side or another probably resulted in the defeat of the amendment,” MacManus said.

Other areas of agreement in the poll were support for school choice programs and stronger environmental rules and opposition to collecting sales taxes on online purchases or giving “more rights and assistance to undocumented immigrants.”

The survey also shows some issues on which Floridians remain undecided. The state is almost evenly split among those who think implementing Common Core educational standards in public schools would be a step in the right direction, think it would be a bad idea and have no opinion or don’t know.

Pluralities oppose repealing the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law; allowing law enforcement agencies to use drones; permitting more casino gambling; approving a law to allow transgender people to use whatever restroom they choose; and repealing the death penalty. But in all five of those cases, 27 percent or more of the people surveyed said they didn’t have an opinion or didn’t know whether they supported those issues.

And while 44 percent of Floridians support taking federal funding to expand the state’s Medicaid program, 33 percent oppose the idea and 23 percent don’t have an opinion.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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21 Responses for “Floridians Say Overwhelming No to Guns On Campus, Big Yes to Medical Marijuana”

  1. Knightwatch says:

    So I’m guessing that, despite overwhelming opposition to guns on campus, Floriduh’s radical conservative legislature will pass a bill to allow concealed carry on state college and university campuses. And our idiotic governor will sign the bill into law.

    Now, for all to see is the ravages of rampant gerrymandering of legislative districts wherein radical conservatives, safe from censure, can vote against the interests of the majority of citizens. Also clear to see is conservative pandering to the evil NRA and a criminal disregard for the lives of students who seek only to experience a safe and welcoming campus environment. This Republican-controlled legislator and our Republican governor should be ashamed of their disgusting behavior.

  2. gmath55 says:

    Marijuana and guns. What could go wrong there?

  3. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Oh boy, can’t wait to see the derp channeled by all of the idiots in legislation towards decrying legalization. Washington state, colorado, oregon, alaska – they haven’t imploded from legalization, and some appear to be enjoying lots of money from taxes on a drug that has pretty much no negative consequences, so? There’s more withdrawal from your morning coffee than there is from cannabis.

  4. Dave says:

    Just like prescription drugs Medical Marijuana will end up in the hands of anyone who wants it.

  5. Sherry E says:

    Knightwatch. . . as usual, I agree with you 100%!

    This situation is a perfect example of how our completely corrupt politicians in Tallahassee are BOUGHT and PAID FOR by the NRA and other special interest groups! The “will of the people” no longer means anything! They also have heard from law enforcement and university administrators who are against guns on campus. Yet, this insane idea comes up again and again. They constantly hammer on their “PAID FOR” agendas. . . while ignoring other “beneficial”legislation. . . and eventually put into law what their “bribing money machines” require.

    Outrageous! Shameful!

    Let’s get the vote out, and, take our “will of ALL the people” back. . . CHANGE OUR REPRESENTATIVES IN TALLAHASSEE! We can stand up against the purveyors of fear and hate!

  6. Geezer says:

    I was reading about medical marijuana. I understand that you can’t get high on it.
    The medical marijuana is a strain that has very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is
    the psychoactive component, and cannabidiol (CBD) is spared. CBD is the anti-inflammatory

    What is the big to-do regarding its legalization?
    I can better understand (though don’t support) the resistance to recreational pot.

    I am sure that most voters don’t know these differences.

    As far as the guns on campus: what’s the next debate – guns at church?
    Open carry at the urologist’s office?
    At the gynecologist?
    While swimming?
    While hiccuping?
    While using a portable john?
    While passing wind?
    While cow-tipping?
    The library? (all those dangerous liberal readers)
    Pajama parties?
    While milking cats?

  7. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    And unlike prescription drugs, it won’t kill anyone.

  8. JimBob says:

    Marijuana is the medicine of choice for treatment of anhedonia, a type of depression, which is defined as the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions. Give it a shot if you’re ever in Colorado or some other enlightened place.

  9. Dennis says:

    [Editor’s note: With apologies to Knightwatch, the comment below would not normally be approved, but is being made public for two reasons: as an example of what’s often withheld (for its gratuitously offensive language at a fellow-commenter) and, more gravely, because of its direct threat to FlaglerLive’s editor. Making a threat, “Dennis” the commenter–Palm Coast resident Dennis Dumas of the W Section—crosses a line we do not permit under any circumstance, and as such gives up his right to anonymity: We will not tolerate commenters making threats. Period. Mr. Dumas has already been reported to the Sheriff’s Office and informed of this directly.

    Trolling is the unfortunate effluent of any site with a comment section, which we strive to minimize as much as possible. But threats have no place in or against any media. We will address them accordingly and without fail. Our media landscape is rich in choice. No one is forcing you to read this site. If it upsets you so deeply, it’s not for you. And if you think we’ll let intimidation of any kind silence or alter FlaglerLive, you’re clearly not paying attention.—Pierre Tristam.]

    Based on your commentary I believe you are living in the wrong state!!! Given your ideas may I suggest New York, Illinois, or California, as here in the south we firmly believe in our second amendment right of self protection. Perhaps your political view/ideology would be more readily accepted in those states, but not here in Florida and particularly here in Palm coast!
    I firmly believe that if you had ever been the victim of some crack influenced shit bag who wanted your stuff to sell for more crack, forcibly entered your home in the middle of the night, killed your daughter, raped your wife, and passed down her throat after removing her head while u watched, defenseless of course, then shot you a couple of times, but managed to survive, big tough man that you are! Then and only then your fairy land idea of a world would give way to reality!
    I personally pack a weapon daily, and am not so stupid as to enter a target rich ” gun free zone”!
    However, should you be being beaten, and robed and your life be threatened by some deranged phycopath with a gun, I wouldn’t hesitate one second to blow the brains out of your attacker so you could live another day to spew your idiotic beliefs on gun control and “gun free zones”!
    May I suggest that you stop reading this filthy middle eastern inspired rag that it is and start paying attention to what is really going on around you, we are not living in a utopia! Get your freaken head out of the sand and look around you! Based on my experience with this rag of a website, it will probably never see the light of day as it disagrees with the editors equally warped sense of reality! I would love nothing more than to run into this piece of shit editor and give him a full dose of my option of his stupid ideas while rearranging the tools he uses to put this trash on the web to further enhance your own stupidity!

  10. Sherry E says:

    Just returned from the FUN Creekside Festival where I signed a petition to support medical marijuana and solar power . . . every signature helps!

    Take a look at the report done by Sanjay Gupta . . . get educated with the facts:

  11. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Not true, you can get high on most of it. The stuff you are thinking about is the high CBC anti-siezure stuff. But then, people can get high off of dxm heavy cough syrup, nutmeg, and the various prescription pills given for pain. Unlike those, there’s no serious withdrawal an literally no chance of dying from overdose.

  12. RickG says:

    A poll shows Floridians are in favor of Medical Marijuana and opposed to guns on campus??? It almost revitalizes my opinion of the majority of Floridians….. maybe not..

  13. Nancy N. says:

    Sorry to burst the bubble of Dennis’s megalomaniacal world view, but there are plenty of people like myself and my family in Palm Coast that believe as Pierre and Knightwatch do on gun control and medical marijuana. I’m proud to count many of them as my friends.

    I just returned from a trip to Denver, where (unbeknownst to me prior to my arrival) it turned out my hotel was in one of the limited neighborhoods approved to have marijuana dispensaries. The most dangerous thing about that neighborhood was the traffic pattern of the streets which I’m pretty sure was created after a visit to one of the dispensaries by a traffic engineer.

  14. Kendall says:

    Still can’t understand that chemo- essentially a poison is approved to treat cancer patients but marijuana, a plant that has never hurt anybody is illegal. And the comparisons to pill mills—- give me a break. There is a huge difference between chemical opioids and marijuana.

    As for guns on campus- NO. Not at colleges, universities or K-12 schools except in the hands of police officers and qualified security guards.

  15. Geezer says:

    I enjoy this website a great deal. There are things here and there that I don’t agree with.
    But there is one constant: interesting articles followed by very telling comments.
    This website has shown me what my former neighbors think.

    The only disgust I experience here is reading some of the ignorant and deranged comments.
    Some of these bananas act as if they read these articles at gunpoint.
    Maybe the News-Journal and their paywall is a better destination for these malcontents.

    Palm Coast is lucky to have Flaglerlive.

  16. Knightwatch says:


    Don’t know if you are venting, which we all do here, or threatening, which we don’t, or a bit of both. Anyway, you are quite free to talk, have an opinion and even carry a gun while you do so. These are your rights, although I certainly question the gun thing. But you need to understand that here on FlaglerLive we all get to express our opinions on all subjects with normal, civilized restraint so everyone gets the point but no one takes it personally. If people don’t agree, they fire back with another post and we all go on about our business. That’s the beauty of it.

    So chill. Let us know what you really think and do what we all do – gracefully accept the approvals and dismiss the critics, and wait for the next issue to debate.

  17. Sherry says:

    I personally shudder to think that the wonderful folks at Flagerlive must daily wade through such vitriol. How insane that people like this are “legally” entitled to own guns!

    His comments are the perfect example of why we need the passage of federally mandated gun safety laws in the USA. His horrific, hateful words have made the case!

    Thank you, Pierre, for publishing his rant. . . no matter how outrageous! Thank you for identifying him. . . his neighbors and relatives need to know. . . Thank you also for notifying the sheriff. . . hopefully they will take this situation very seriously.

    We need Flaglerlive more than ever. . . stay safe and true!!!

  18. Geezer says:


    Your response the Dennis is very diplomatic – very civilized.
    Very commendable.

    Dennis seems to hunger for the opportunity to “blow someone’s
    brains out.” At least that’s what his angry diatribe suggests.
    I hope the FCSO did indeed interview him – as I have grave doubts
    as to his fitness to posses a carry permit, let alone own firearms.
    I’d confiscate all sharp instruments from him, even dull spoons.

    As a gun owner I find him offensive and potentially dangerous.
    He has killing and maiming on his mind. You needn’t be a Sigmund
    Freud to come to this obvious conclusion. I hope that whomever
    interviews this angry fellow concludes same. FCSO and Palm Coast
    have been forewarned.

    I am pleased that he’s been exposed.

    Many defend the second amendment, but conveniently forget about the first.
    The 1st amendment is even more precious. The 2nd amendment theoretically
    protects the first.

  19. Katie Seamore says:

    I do not think those young ladies shown above are interested in having marijuana legalized for medical reasons. They look as if they are ready to party.

  20. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Correct, that photo is not from Florida. That photo is from an event that took place in Colorado, a state that is currently enjoying reduced deaths due to painkiller overdose, reduced crime rates, and lots of new tax money from recreational legalization.

  21. Sherry says:

    Thanks so much for pointing that out Samuel! We need to legalize pot for medicinal and recreational use! Regulate it and tax it. . . prohibition doesn’t work.

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