Few political issues are as explosive as that of the perpetual debate on guns: what type can be used? What hoops must be jumped through to obtain them? Where can they be possessed? Recently, the latter of those three questions has been brought to the attention of the Florida House of Representatives, in the form of House Bill 4005, which passed the Criminal Justice Subcommittee last week. It still needs to clear two more subcommittees, a floor House vote, and then a Senate vote before it can become law, but if passed, it would serve to allow the possession of guns on university grounds in the state of Florida.
The measure, which is openly opposed by FSU’s president, John Thrasher, as well as the faculty union, is already driving a sharp wedge in the student body. Proponents argue that if this bill had been passed before the shooting at Strozier Library in November, then Myron May, the ex-student who injured three before being killed by University Police, could have been stopped even sooner – but opponents are wary of potential collateral damage stemming from a possible amateur shoot-out. The Student Senate will be voting on a resolution that will decide the official opinion of the student body next Wednesday, where students are invited to come express their support – or discontent – with the Senate resolution regarding the bill.
Concealed carry permits in Florida are only eligible to be issued to US citizens with no prior felony convictions who are 21 years of age or older. Just based on the age requirement, roughly half the student body of Florida State would be ineligible to apply for a concealed carry permit. Additionally, a safety training course is required.
President Thrasher, a long-time Republican, actually opposed a similar bill back in 2011 when he was a state senator, and has stated he is maintaining his position. On-campus law enforcement also oppose the measure, citing the dangers of adding additional guns that could ultimately be used against them. The response time for FSUPD at the Strozier shooting in November was under three minutes.
Ultimately, university action will have no effect on the concealed carry bill if it passes; the law is the law. So if you feel strongly about the bill, call your representative or make your voice heard now! Student Senate is on Wednesdays at 7:30 in the Senate Chambers in the Union, and the resolution vote is scheduled to take place next Wednesday, the 4th. Odds are you carry a strong view about the bill one way or the other, now is the time to make your voice heard!
By ANDREW BRYANT / Staff Writer