Fla. lawmaker wants to pull the trigger on campus carry. Guess who tries to shoot it down.
- A Florida lawmaker filed a bill to allow gun owners to carry firearms on college campuses.
- But the legislation already has plenty of opponents, namely college employees.
A Florida lawmaker has filed legislation that would allow concealed carry permit holders to arm themselves on college campuses.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) filed the legislation Thursday. Sabatini introduced a similar proposal in 2019, but the bill later died in committee.
Sabatini told Campus Reform that concealed weapons permit holders are among the most law-abiding citizens. Every argument made by adversaries of campus carry, Sabatini said, is “completely untrue.” The Republican pointed out that Florida's college campuses comprise tens of thousands of acres of land in the state. He said he is open to talking about where on campus to allow concealed carry, but added that it is "asinine" to prevent gun owners with legal permits from carrying anywhere.
Given how a similar proposal failed in the Florida legislature during the last legislative session, the bill faces an uphill battle in Tallahassee. But it also faces a tough climb among Florida's university employees, according to WUSF.
Sabatini pointed out to Campus Reform that a similar bill in Texas also faced resistance from a number of academics.
Marjorie Sanfilippo, assistant dean of faculty at Eckerd College said, "I think it would endanger the safety of students if there were guns on campus. Primarily because there would be an increase in suicides and accidental injuries, not because there would be an increase in violence. I don't see that.”
University of South Florida Marketing Director Adam Freeman also opposed the bill, saying, “our position remains the same from previous years when similar legislation has been proposed. We support Florida maintaining its long-standing state law that prohibits carrying concealed weapons on university campuses."
Sabatini says he will continue filing the bill every year until it passes. According to WUSF, there are roughly 2 million concealed carry permit holders in the state of Florida. That accounts for about 10 percent of the state's total population.
"Rep. Sabatini is at the front of the fight on this issue and has been since he first got in office," Genesis Sanchez, a Tallahassee Community College student and Campus Reform Florida campus correspondent, told Campus Reform.
"[I'm] proud of all he's done to protect students all over the state of Florida," Sanchez added.
USF College Republicans declined to comment for this article.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @afaith_media