A proposal to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their guns on college campuses was approved Wednesday by the Florida Senate and House Committees on Criminal Justice.
The proposal to amend the current law has to be approved by three more committees before it is presented in the 2016 legislative session.
A representative from the National Rifle Association, Amy Hunter, said there are plans to continue presenting the proposal to the Florida government yearly until it is passed.
“Threats to personal safety don’t disappear once you step on campus,” Hunter said. “Criminals can still get on campus. Criminals don’t abide by gun-free zones.”
In the Senate committee meeting Wednesday morning, Gary Kleck, an FSU criminology professor, said that no one younger than 21 would be able to have a gun on campus, regardless of whether or not the bill passes.
Florida Statute 790.06 describes the requirements for carrying concealed weapons or firearms.
Although state universities like the University of Florida and Florida State University have a large population of students who are underage, community colleges in the area have a larger age range with more possibilities of students with concealed carry permits.
Manager of public safety at the College of Central Florida, Don Ugliano, said a lot will have to change in his department if the bill is passed, but he will be prepared.
Santa Fe College Chief of Police, Ed Book, said in an e-mail that safety training for students and faculty and a vigilant police force is what he thinks makes a college campus safer — not more guns.
“People imagine this Wild West kind of scenario. They’re imagining college kids drinking and being irresponsible with their weapons,” Hunter said.
She said Colorado has allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons on college campuses since 2003, and there has not been a single incident that can be accredited to the passage of the bill.
“These are really supremely law abiding people that want to be able to continue their right to self defense,” she said.