The State University System of Florida' Board of Governors, the 12 public universities and the university police chiefs stand in opposition to bills moving through the Legislature that remove a ban on guns on campuses.
Even some staunch Second Amendment proponents do not support allowing people with concealed-carry firearms licenses to pack guns on campuses.
Legislators should listen to the sensible objections and reject this fresh attempt to allow a new threat onto relatively safe college campuses.
Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, is the sponsor of the House version, HB 4005. His district includes all of East Manatee. This and the Senate measure, SB 176, attempt to allow the public to counteract rare cases of gun violence and other crimes on campuses.
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Pro-gun organizations would have us believe that Florida's college and university campuses are seething cauldrons of violent crime. They promote "the best defense is a good offense" philosophy to crime fighting by arming as many "good guys" as possible.
That completely ignores the inherent threat that more weaponry carries -- including accidental shootings, gun thefts and other terrible consequences.
Campus crime low
The statistics do not bear out the scare tactics of gun proponents. After crunching Florida Department of Law Envorcement figures covering the University of Florida, the Tampa Bay Times found students are some 30 times more likely to be assaulted off campus and 12 times more likely to be raped. The last homicide on campus occurred 11 years ago. These low crime statistics are not unique to UF.
Bogeymen are not lurking around every corner. College campuses are relatively safe havens for young adults and their professors.
But the drum beat for guns in dorms, classrooms, libraries, gyms, labs, offices and elsewhere grew louder with November's shooting at Florida State University. The gunman wounded two students and a library employee before being shot dead by police.
Stuebe's argument that had nearby students, professors or anyone else with a concealed-carry permit had been packing, those individuals might have stopped the attacker quicker than police.
What would that scenario look like? Several individuals shooting at the gunmen? Police arrive, cannot determine who the assailant is and they start shooting at everyone with a gun?
Plus, do college and university students with concealed-carry permits train for active shooter, hostage and other emergency situations?
Guns bring a false sense of security.
In February, the university system issued a statement that said the end of the campus gun ban "could create new challenges in our ability to provide a safe and secure learning environment."
Furthermore, the university system "is committed to the safety and security of all students, which is why university law enforcement officers have received extensive training on how to minimize harm in crisis scenarios."
Florida State University President John Thrasher, a Second Amendment advocate, stands in a unique position in opposition to these bills.
As a state senator in 2011, he blocked a similar attempt to strip the ban from state law. That came after one of his friends lost his daughter to an accidental shooting at a fraternity party.
This heartbreaking incident highlights another convincing argument against guns on campuses. Firearms in places where drugs and alcohol are commonly used by immature and reckless individuals is a recipe for more tragedies.
The Legislature should once again bury this misguided idea.