Michael Tefft via Flickr

Over the opposition of campus police chiefs, university presidents and many students, the Florida Senate Committee on Higher Education passed legislation late Monday that would allow those 21 and older, with concealed weapons permits, to carry guns on university campuses across the state.

Scott's Proposals to Make College More Affordable

Jan 23, 2015
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Governor Scott Thursday continued his campaign to make higher education more affordable.

In a brief stop at the University of North Florida bookstore, Scott said he wants to eliminate the state sales tax on text books and expand the state’s Bright Futures Scholarship program to include summer courses. Right now the lottery-funded merit-based scholarships can only be used for classes taken in the fall, winter and spring.

A House committee approved a bill Tuesday that would allow guns on state university campuses just two months after a shooter wounded three people at a Florida State University library.

Rep. Greg Steube argued his bill (HB 4005) would make campuses safer because a shooter could be stopped by a gun owner before police respond to a shooting scene. He said gun-free zones don't prevent people from going on shooting sprees.

"It didn't stop the shooter at Florida State University's library, it didn't stop the shooter at Virginia Tech," said Steube, R-Sarasota.

A Florida lawmaker wants to grant universities more secrecy when they choose a new president, provost or dean.

Senator Alan Hays says university presidential searches should be exempt from public records law. Supporters say current rules might scare off top candidates because they don’t want their current employers to know they’re looking for a new job.

Florida Gun Legislation

Dec 17, 2014
Michael Tefft via Flickr

This month, a Southwest Florida state lawmaker has reintroduced a bill that would permit conceal carry licensees to carry firearms on public college and university campuses. The measure, from State Rep. Greg Steube R-Sarasota, comes in the wake of last month’s shooting at Florida State University that resulted in the wounding of three students and the death of the lone gunman. Florida leads the nation in the number of concealed weapon permit holders with more than one million licensees. Gun control advocates oppose the bill citing a recent study from the group Every Town For Our Safety which found Florida has had the highest number of school shootings since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook two years ago.

Supporters of the measure point to last month’s FSU shooting incident as a reason why conceal carry licensees should be allowed to carry guns on campus. Some members of the group Students for Concealed Carry at FSU say the shooter in that incident could have been subdued more quickly if they’d been permitted to carry their firearms on campus. Supporters also argue it’s unconstitutional to prevent people licensed to carry guns from defending themselves in the face of danger. We’ll hear from both sides as we also explore another bill proposed by Rep. Steube that would allow public school districts in Florida to allow specifically designated staff to carry guns on school property.