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Senate bill would allow guns on college campuses | News

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Senate bill would allow guns on college campuses
Senate bill would allow guns on college campuses

Tampa, Florida - The images of Virginia Tech, where a gunman killed 32 people three years ago, are still vivid in the minds of many, including State Senator Greg Evers from Florida's Panhandle.

Evers filed Senate Bill 234, which would allow professors and students over 21 to carry guns on campus.

"It's for their own protection and protection of those around them," says Evers. He adds, "This would allow and probably stop a lot of these shootings on campus in the past."

The bill requires the gun to be kept in a person's car and it prohibits guns in school buildings.

"I feel someone might break into my car and take it. Scared about what they are going to do with it," says Jessica Ribado, FSU student.

"I think I feel safer knowing people don't have guns on campus than knowing they have guns on campus," adds Kendra Johnson, UT student.

"Scary situation to have that," says Charles Mascenik, University of Tampa's Director of Safety and Security and retired police officer. Mascenik says guns on campus could get in the way of law enforcement's response.

"Just because you have the gun doesn't mean you'll be able to change an event or anything could get an innocent person hurt, especially if you don't have the training," says Mascenik.

Under Florida law, one has to be 21 to buy a gun. But as young as 18, the age of a college freshman, they can carry a gun in their car provided it's securely encased -- but not on a college or university campus. They would need a concealed weapons permit and they have to be 21 to get it.

UT student Steven Gaber has mixed feelings, "I like the right to keep and bare arms. Again it's about being responsible with a hand gun. I don't know if that will be safe thing on a college campus."

Senate Bill 234 would also end the open carry law. A person with a concealed weapons permit would no longer be penalized  or risk losing their CWP for exposing their properly holstered handgun.


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