In the wake of Monday’s shooting at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, the League of Women Voters of Florida urges Florida’s lawmakers to resist efforts to lift a ban on carrying concealed weapons on campus.

“It is striking that unanimously, every one of Florida’s university presidents and campus law enforcement agencies oppose the bill making its way through the Legislature, overturning the current ban, ” said League president, Deirdre Macnab.

In a recent statement, the State University System spoke out against the proposed legislation, saying that allowing concealed carry on college campuses “is contrary to the values we embrace and could create new challenges in our ability to provide a safe and secure learning environment.”

While three students suffered only minor injuries during the Bethune-Cookman incident, the situation could have ended tragically had “concealed carry” been allowed, said Deirdre Macnab, LWVF president.

Campus law enforcement officials have said that arming students creates a situation where they cannot know the ‘good’ guys from the ‘bad’ guys and can quickly escalate an already deadly situation.

The bill, HB 4005 and its companion in the Senate, SB 176, would allow those ages 21 years and up who hold concealed weapons permits to carry concealed firearms on all public college and university campuses. So far, the bills have passed both the House and Senate Criminal Justice Committees and are now awaiting hearings in the Higher Education Committees. The League’s Gun Safety Committee has joined the state university presidents, college presidents and campus law enforcement, faculty and student organizations in strongly opposing these bills.

” ‘Concealed carry’ on college campuses is prohibited in 41 states. In some cases by law, in others, by university policy” said League Gun Safety Chair Patti Brigham. “In Texas, where similar legislation is pending, it has been estimated that the economic impact of campus carry (on the University of Texas and University of Houston systems) could reach nearly $47 million over six years. Imagine what the cost would be in Florida where the University of Central Florida has some 60,000 students.”

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