February 19, 2015: YES FL SB 176, NO SB 290

I don’t support “Gun Free Zones” on general principle because the concept removes the right of personal self-defense by a means that can equalizes disparity of force situations.  Gun Free Zones require individuals to limit their right of self-defense.  They require individuals to make a presumption that the “authority” in the “gun free zone” is capable of responding in a timely manner and will intervene on their behalf. 

SB 176 and HB 4005, if enacted, will remove one of the restrictions on concealed carry.  They have nothing to do with guns in off campus housing.  Yet an article by Jim Turner, News Service of Florida, relates the story of Ashley Cowie and current FSU President John Thrasher’s opposition since he was a Florida Senator. 

The tragic death of Ashely Cowie is often brought up during debates about the right to self-defense and firearms at colleges because she was a student at FSU.  Examination of her full story reveals that concealed carry was not a factor in her death.  Her death occurred off campus.  She was killed by a shot fired from a rifle.  Nothing to do with concealed carry.  Evan Wilhelm is serving 20 years in prison for her death.

In order for a student to legally carry concealed in Florida s/he must be over 21 years old.  They have to pass a class and apply for the permit.  These steps indicate some level of commitment.  Also consider that a 21 year old student is probably going to be a junior or senior.  Advancing that far in their college career indicates a level of maturity. 

The remarks of Marjorie Sanfilippo, an Associate Dean and Professor at Eckerd College, “I would point out the obvious: You’ll be arming the assailants too.” What isn’t obvious to Professor Sanfilippo is that criminals, her word “assailants” don’t follow laws prohibiting forcible felonies (rape being among them).

State Representative Greg Steube of Sarasota puts it succinctly, “I don’t think that, for a lawful concealed weapon holder, the inherent right to self-defense should be stripped at the entrance of a college or university.”  Representative Steube is the sponsor of HB 4005.

The Senate Criminal Justice committee OK’d the bill and it will next be considered by the Higher Education committees in the House and Senate.

With respect to Florida Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, I do not agree that SB 290 is a good idea.  The bill seeks to allow concealed carry during times of mandatory evacuations.  A compromise results in this being allowed for 48 hours after the evacuation notice.  This is Florida, we are two weeks away from an evacuation six months out of the year. 

It is not unreasonable to expect someone who wants to carry concealed during a high stress time to make the commitment and go through the process to get a Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License.  Otherwise follow the current laws for transporting firearms and keep them unloaded, closed in a case, and in your trunk. 

You have not lowered your ability to defend yourself any more than any other day of the year.  If you don’t think it is important enough to have the license during “ordinary” time, then why should you expect the people who do, to grant you the same consideration?   You have not demonstrated the knowledge or skill and you have not been background checked to determine if you meet the requirements in Florida to carry concealed. 

Go learn the laws concerning the use of deadly force, take a class and apply for the license. 

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