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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

If Florida Senate Bill 234 passes, licensed gun owners will be allowed to openly carry firearms at UF. 

UF Student Senate President Ben Meyers, who represents the Unite Party, met with Sens. Brittnie Baker, Amanda Jones and Ingrid Tojanci on Friday to draft a resolution denouncing this bill. The judiciary committee reviewed the bill and will give it a favorable recommendation at the Senate meeting on Tuesday.

“It’s a non-political issue,” Meyers said. “I’m a Republican; I believe in gun rights. There’s no reason why students should be going around carrying guns.”

The resolution lists recent instances of gun violence on college campuses, including ones at the University of Texas and Florida State University, and recommends that students become educated on weapon safety rules to avoid firearm-related incidents.

If it passes, copies will be sent to state Sen. Steve Oelrich, state Rep. Greg Evers, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon and Gov. Rick Scott. Meyers will also send it to other student senators in the state for support.

Baker, who prompted the resolution, said violence can happen anywhere and under many different circumstances.

The bill will start a chain reaction: Students will arm themselves for protection, frightening other students and faculty who will then arm themselves, she said.

“We all know how discussions in Turlington or classes can become heated and out of hand. Think about the danger that carrying weapons would bring to those situations,” she said.

Carly Wilson, student senator and president of College Republicans, opposes the resolution. College Republicans supports the bill in all areas, she said.

The Second Amendment should not stop when students enter campus. However, she said she does respect the senators who are concerned.

“I think that this is the kind of thing the Student Senate should be working on. We should be concerned with the bills of the Florida Legislature that are relevant on the UF campus,” Wilson said.

She plans on speaking out against the resolution by addressing the need of guns for safety.

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The things heard on the news are tragedies and not the norm, she said. People want to feel safe in their own homes and  when they go on campus.

These guns are here for a purpose, she said.

“The idea is that now 50,000 students are going to be walking around with guns hanging from their belt loops. That’s so unrealistic. The restrictions for the kids that carry are still in place,” she said.

The resolution will most likely pass because senators will vote in the way that will best represent their constituents, Wilson said. The safer route is to approve it because the majority of students will feel more protected without guns on campus.

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