Florida Campus Carry Bill Sidelined in State Senate
A Miami area Republican is refusing to schedule a hearing on a proposal to allow concealed carry on public college and university campuses.
The measure, backed by State Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, had already won approval from the Criminal Justice and Higher Education committees but is stalling in the Judiciary Committee where the chair, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, is refusing to schedule a hearing on the bill, reported Guns.com.
“We’re not going to hear campus carry,” said Diaz de la Portilla. “I think there are better ways to address the issue of campus safety and security. I think the dangers outweigh the potential and perceived benefits of passing a bill.”
The legislation would drop the current gun free zones in public college and university property for those with concealed carry permits, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the committee chair has not changed his mind in the past eight months.
Current law only allows students and faculty to carry stun guns or nonlethal electric weapons on campus.
Supporters of campus carry argue the legislation would help prevent school shootings by providing another line of defense on campuses in the form of students and teachers carrying concealed weapons. But many students, faculty members, college presidents and campus police chiefs oppose the legislation.
“A lightly or untrained person trying to draw a gun in a high-stakes situation is not going to contribute to the safety of our campus,” said Florida State University faculty union president Matthew Lata, a music professor who participated in a press conference denouncing the campus-carry bill shortly before Diaz de la Portilla’s announcement.
Advocates for the measure advise whether Senator Diaz de la Portilla kills the bill or not, the push for campus carry is still very much alive in Florida.
“As we speak, criminals are carrying on our campuses, and we, the law abiding citizens, are left at their mercy,” Bekah Hargrove, state director for Florida Students for Concealed Carry, told Guns.com. “Senator Portilla should vote no to the bill if he truly does not support it, but his job is to put bills on the agenda that have high public interest, which campus carry does have. Campus carry will one day be legal in Florida because we will never stop supporting our second amendment rights.”