FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2015 (Tallahassee, FL): In response to the introduction of HB 4001 sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube (R) Sarasota, and SB 68, sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers (R) Baker, the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus issued the following statement.
“The introduction of guns on campus legislation for the 2016 session by Rep. Stuebe and Sen. Evers is the second bite at the apple from the poisonious tree of gun proliferation by these legislators after their bills were rejected earlier this year. We again strongly oppose this legislation (HB 4001/SB 68), which would change current law and allow loaded, concealed handguns to be carried anywhere on Florida’s public university campuses including classrooms, dormitories, libraries, cafeterias, administrative offices and student health centers. Currently, Florida law gives the Board of Governors the authority to place reasonable restrictions on access to firearms within college-owned or controlled buildings and grounds (excluding parking lots).
Despite overwhelming opposition to identical bills filed in the 2015 session that failed to make it to a floor vote, this is the latest example of extremism and a radicalized interpretation of the 2nd Amendment by gun lobby backed legislators. This legislation is being introduced again against the tide of overwhelming opposition by all university presidents and campus law enforcement, United Faculty of Florida, Faculty Senates, Student Government Associations, campus student groups, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and community and faith leaders across the state.
College campuses are generally safe environments. Our colleges and universities should be havens for learning, where students, faculty, staff and visitors should not need to worry about the threat of gun violence on their campuses. The campus environment should be one where additional risks are not created, such as adding loaded, concealed handguns that can be carried by students, faculty and staff.
In closing, this legislation does nothing to promote safe campuses and, if signed into law, will also present a significant financial burden to all schools at an estimated cost of over $50 million dollars. Additional safety measures will be required to be implemented that include more campus police, new training and the purchase of new security equipment. Florida’s higher education officials are the ones most qualified to determine the safety requirements for their campus, including restricting guns only to certified law enforcement officers.”