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Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Florida Legislature is no longer considering a measure March 9 that would have allowed students to openly carry guns on campus.

Following a speech by Robert Cowie, the father of a girl who was accidentally shot Jan. 9 at an off-campus FSU fraternity house, the controversial measure was pulled from the bill.

“I’m very excited,” Student Body President-elect Ben Meyers said. “I can’t help but think that Student Government, campus police departments and administrations from across the state had an impact.”

The bill itself now exists as a measure to introduce open carry to the state and advanced past the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday by a 3-2 vote.

The campus-carry measure has been opposed by virtually all governing bodies at UF. President Bernie Machen, Police Chief Linda Stump, the Student Senate and the Faculty Senate have publicly opposed or passed resolutions against the bill.

“College campuses, as far as crime goes, are very safe places to live and study,” Stump said. “[Faculty and students] were fearful that guns on campus might change the academic climate, where now they feel free to partake in civil discourse to its fullest extent and not be fearful of somebody having a gun.”

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes indicated it may be too soon to begin making funeral arrangements for the open-carry clause, but it’s not stopping people like Progress Party leader Dave Schneider from celebrating.

“It’s a victory in that we were able to get students from different political orientations to come out and champion safety on campus,” Schneider said.

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