Sometimes we just have to shake our heads and ask, “Huh?” Such is the case with one of the bills being considered by the 2011 version of the Florida Legislature.
Current Florida law makes it illegal to carry a gun into any elementary school, secondary school, and college or university facility. The current session of the Florida legislature is considering legislation that will make it permissible to carry a concealed weapon on to a college or university campus. As I read the bills (SB 234 and HB 517), colleges and universities will be removed from the prohibition listing in the law. If a person has a concealed gun permit, he/she will be allowed to bring a weapon right into the classroom, cafeteria–and I would assume–residence hall, library, and courtyard. And it would be with the blessing of our lawmakers.
The rationale I have heard most is that this new law (if it is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor) would be a deterrent for “another campus shooting” happening. Allowing people to carry on campus will, according to this logic, reduce chances of gun violence on campus.
Interestingly, the above bills still expressly prohibit anyone from bringing a weapon into a meeting of the legislature (and that continued prohibition is a GOOD thing). But why is it the legislators protect themselves from concealed weapons–but not faculty, staff, and students?
With the gun violence we have seen recently and with public civility continuing to disintegrate, one would think we would want to do all we can to keep guns OUT of colleges and universities–not “deleting provisions relating to prohibitions on concealed carry” on campus.
As a Florida citizen it concerns me. As a faculty member this concerns me. If I were a parent with a son or daughter in, or considering attending, Florida’s colleges and universities, I would be very concerned as well. Let’s encourage our children and students to bring books, laptops, diverse ideas, and civil discourse to our colleges and universities.
The full text of SB 234 and HB 517 can be found online at http://myfloridahouse.gov/ and http://www.flsenate.gov/.
(C) 2011. Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog
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