Proposed campus gun-carry bill stirs students

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By Luis Lopez-Crespo

A proposed bill in the Florida House of Representatives could lower the gun-possessing age as well as allow students, faculty, and anyone else with a concealed carry license to bring firearms on college campuses.

FSW students are left wondering if this bill could change their own school.

“There’s really no reason for guns to be on a school campus,” said 17-year-old dual-enrolled student Shulin Yow. “Guns have a time and place, just like everything else.”

The bill was proposed in the House on October 1 and if passed, will go into effect by July 2020.

If successfully made into law, Florida college and university campuses cease to be gun-free zones, allowing anyone with a license to bring firearms on campus.

“Our Second Amendment right should not be determined by a government bureaucracy,” said state representative Anthony Sabatini, who filed the legislation. He later added that permits are “permission slips from the government.”

Similar bills were proposed in the Florida House and Senate for the 2011, 2017, and 2019 sessions, none of which passed.

At FSW, anyone over the age of 18 is lawfully permitted to possess a concealed firearm within their vehicle, with or without a license, though not anywhere else on campus.

The school policy is based on the current Florida law. It is unclear if the school policy will change if the laws do.

“It’s a little pointless if it’s just going to be in the car. If you’re going to carry, might as well carry it on you and be licensed,” said James Rubino, a FSW freshman. “I think 18 might be a little bit too young to carry, especially on a campus.”

Nicole Rojas, a 16-year-old dual-enrolled student, hopes the bill will pass.

“Things have been going on so often lately, and I think we should be able to defend ourselves,” said Rojas. “Guns are useful, when being used for good purposes.”

Oliver Rubarski, a 19-year-old sophomore, worries this bill would only make the campus more frightful.

“I spend all of my time here; I come here to get away from the issues at home.” Rubarski then added, “This policy makes it feel less like a home, and somewhere where I have to keep my guard up.”

Nadia Green, an 18-year-old freshman, has a different perspective on the school policy.

“I feel like it’s a good idea for people who have dorms here. They are always on campus and just go from class to dorm.”

The proposed bill will be discussed in the 2020 legislative session, which will convene on January 14.

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