Should guns be allowed on college campuses?
By Journey Staff Writer: Qiyah Lanier
Florida is always worth paying attention to when it comes to gun rights, some even like to call Florida “the Gunshine State” because its lawmakers seem to wrestle every year over how far to expand gun owners’ rights. This summer, states across the nation loosened restrictions on 2nd Amendment rights, permitting some state universities to holster-free gun-carrying.
In Florida, however, bills to repeal gun-free zones have been stalled, unable to get a hearing or be debated in a legislative committee.There were five separate bills that would have allowed guns in courthouses, airports and government meetings. Each of those bills would have also allowed college and university students to carry guns into the classroom.
Tarik Johnson, Florida A&M freshman, said, “I was definitely excited about college, now, there is a little skepticism when it comes to the open carry policy. I think that any student campus should be a place of learning. Campus police are the people that are supposed to keep our campuses safe. Having your own gun, in my opinion, is just a distraction. In high school there’s a page for code of conduct, it says how certain clothes and hairstyles are “distractions” in the classroom”. “Im curious to know what college campuses will classify carrying an open weapon in the classroom as”, said Johnson.
As recent bills have been passed, guns are allowed on university campuses in 11 states including Georgia.
Local Tallahassee resident, and current FAMU graduate student, Alisia Austin said, “Graduate school is tough enough, I can’t imagine coming to campus and seeing my colleagues and other students with guns. I think it’s completely unethical for learning institutions to support such outlandish policies. Universities are supposed to ensure that students are safe. This just gives students the opportunity to make any bad situation worse”.
Marcus Lattimer, Florida State University, Black Student Union member, said, “Open carry is a touchy subject, I personally think that students should have the right to bring to campus whatever protection makes them feel safe. However, to have a gun out in the open inside the classroom is a little too much. I think that lawmakers have to look at the bigger picture with this one”. “All students will not have weapons nor will all students feels safe, and that should be the foremost concern. The ensured well-being and safety for not some but all students”, said Lattimer.
The National Rifle Association has been pushing to expand where those with concealed carry permits can be armed. In Florida, Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has emerged as the Legislature’s leading opponent of gun-free zones. It is a commitment he said he will carry into the 2018 session.