Campus Carry Bill Takes the Next Step
By Christopher Lampley
In the year 2015 alone, 23 shootings have occurred on college campuses across the United States. The most recent of the shootings happened earlier this month at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., where 10 people, including the shooter, were killed.
The uprising in shootings has civilians seeking many answers as to how can we ensure safety while learning. Legislators feel as if half of those answers lie firmly within the proposed “Campus Carry” bill.
The Senate Higher Education committee listened to 90 minutes’ worth of testimonies on Oct. 21 before approving a proposal to allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.
What exactly does this mean for college students, faculty and staff members?
If the bill is passed, people will have to obtain a clear background check, get their concealed weapons permit and purchase a gun that is deemed “reasonable” to carry around campus.
With the bill being in its preliminary stages, many people are reflecting on the cons more than the pros.
“I honestly don’t think that it’s a good idea to allow people to be armed on campus,” Romel Howard said.
Howard, a sophomore at TCC, says that he understands the importance of personal safety but allowing people to have guns is very dangerous.
“We should just leave them (guns) in the hands of campus police and hope that they can do their best to protect us,” Howard added.
Police chiefs and campus officers, who attended the meeting, are in heavy opposition of the bill because the ratio of students, faculty or staff members with a gun to police officers would be overwhelming.
Marc Platel, a sophomore School of Business student at Florida A&M University, believes that permitted guns on campus could get out of hand quickly.
“There could be an instance where you’re sitting in class and two out of every three or four people are carrying a gun… that’s scary,” Platel said.
The city of Tallahassee has roughly 70,000 students combined between its three major colleges. Florida State University President, John Thrasher, opposes the bill and feels as if it would be better to have well-trained law enforcement and mental health services are the best way to minimize campus threats.
Solutions that extend outside the gun bill include forming work groups and task forces that would work with campus security to potentially eliminate any possible threats to students, faculty and staff safety.
The bill was favored heavily by Republicans and passed with a 5-3 vote. The bill’s next hearing will be in the Judiciary Committee.