If a proposal to allow guns on campus in the state of Florida becomes law, the University of Florida could wind up paying nearly a half million dollars to accommodate it.
A gun-friendly campus would require modifications in things such as freshman orientation, football season and housing. For example, storage facilities for guns would have to be placed in residence halls and security would have to be hired to manage and guard the storage facilities, said Janine Sikes, assistant vice president of UF Media Relations and Public Affairs.
Freshman orientation would have to include a segment on gun laws and safety, while new strategies would be put in place to ensure people feel secure attending high-volume events such as football games. But whether that would involve more security, metal detectors or something else, Sikes could not say.
“Anything can change at any minute,” said Sikes. “We don’t know.”
Early cost estimates are about $300,000 to $500,000, Sikes said. “We’d have to find the money somehow to make these changes.”
UF isn’t the only local university that would be affected by the law.
Santa Fe College’s chief of police, Ed Book, said additional training would be required for employees and police officers as well as development of new policies and guidelines.
Book said the SFPD hasn’t done a cost analysis yet but changes made to the college’s police department would likely have to be covered by taxpayers.
Senate Bill 68, which would allow concealed carry licensees to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into a college or university, was introduced to the Senate last Tuesday, despite opposition from many college and university presidents, staff, students and police departments.
The University of Florida has been openly against the bill, but its police department had preliminary conversations as to how it would adapt if the bill became law, according to Sikes.
This doesn’t just have UF’s police department talking, but the entire administration. Changes would have to be made across the board, said Sikes.