Florida SB140 means guns on school campuses

SB 140 proposes changes to Florida’s existing gun laws.  The current law allows people with concealed weapons permits to carry their firearms openly, with certain restrictions.  SB 140 (see pages 14-15) would remove some restrictions, allowing permit holders to openly carry firearms:

  • On college and university campuses, except for athletic events
  • On K-12 school campuses
  • Airport passenger terminals
  • Career centers
  • County meetings, school district meetings, municipality meetings
  • Meetings of the Florida state legislature, and their committees

I am completely opposed to these changes, and will urge my elected officials to oppose this bill.  Here’s why:

At the current time, if anyone on a school campus notices someone with a gun, they can notify police and the police can intervene before shots are fired.  If this bill passes, then anyone can openly carry a firearm onto a school campus and the only thing that police can do until the person starts shooting is to ask if they have a concealed weapons permit.

University professors would find themselves face to face with some people who are openly carrying weapons during classes.  Were I a professor, I would be worried about the possibility of violence in my classroom from students who dislikes their grades, who disagree with my ideas, or who have been caught cheating.  Were I a K-12 teacher, I’d feel threatened by parents who arrive to parent-teacher meetings armed.

The gun lobby would counter my argument by insisting that this bill will allow teachers and professors to protect themselves from someone who is intent on mass murdering people on school campuses.  Let’s just think through that scenario for a minute:  Let’s say that we have hundreds of university students openly carrying guns while they walk through a main university square, and that a “bad guy” in the crowd begins shooting people.  Then, a “good guy” shoots the “bad guy”, or tries to.  In a crowd, perhaps he or she misses and shoots some bystanders.  Or, perhaps he or she shoots the “bad guy”.  Another “good guy” sees someone shooting, but doesn’t realize that the person he sees is the “good guy” and the one who was just shot was the “bad guy”.  Should he shoot?  Should he wait to assess the situation and possibly be shot himself?  And, if he shoots, then how likely is it that others in the crowd will think he’s a “bad guy”, too?

I can understand that people want to feel safe.  But, allowing open carry on school campuses is not the answer.