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Friday, September 29, 2023

The Florida legislature’s warning shot regarding a bill that would allow guns on college campuses has caused a commotion at UF.

The University Police Department and Student Government have voiced concerns about a bill proposed in the Florida Senate that would allow those with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns on campus.

The intent of the legislation is to protect students from dangerous situations by allowing them to carry guns for self-defense.

Currently, no one — with the exception of police officers — is allowed to carry guns on college campuses in Florida.

Students are not even permitted to have guns in their cars parked on campus.

UPD spokesman Cpt. Jeff Holcomb said one of his concerns is students will feel less safe on campus.

“We don’t want our students coming here thinking the Wild West is allowed in the state of Florida,” he said.

Holcomb said the department is hoping the bill will not pass through the Senate. He added that there is no plan for what the department might do differently if the bill does pass.

UF administration declined to comment on the issue.

The Student Senate voted 52-17 on Feb. 8 to pass a resolution against allowing guns on campus.

Senate President and candidate for Student Body President Ben Meyers, a member of the Unite Party, co-sponsored the resolution against the bill.

Despite supporting the bill’s principle of Second Amendment rights, Meyers said after seeing campus leaders and police departments unanimously oppose the legislation, he would join them in standing against it.

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However, if the bill passes, Meyers said he would carry a firearm on campus.

Meyers said the fear on campus is an increase in crimes of passion, much like Monday’s shooting at Middle Tennessee State University, which stemmed from an argument outside a school building.

Dave Schneider, the Progress Party candidate for Student Body president, voiced his opposition to guns on campus at the meeting and continues to voice his concern with the legislation.

“You create a gun culture on campus, where I really don’t think it has a place,” he said. “We’re supposed to be here to learn.”

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