On Monday evening, individuals poured into the Senate Meeting to discuss six different bills on the agenda. A majority of the audience was there to discuss House Bill (HB) 4005, a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm on a College or University campus.
Comment cards were distributed and individuals were given a chance to write their names and comments on which bill they came to support or oppose.
HB 4005 was strategically placed last on the agenda. When it was finally called to the floor, there were many supporters for the bill including, Marian Hammer, Chair of the National Rifle Association.
Hammer is also known as the NRA lobbyist who pushed for the Stand Your Ground Law.
HB 4005, was created and sponsored by Rep. Gregory Steube, district 73.
In order to obtain a concealed weapon or firearm permit, one must be at least 21 years of age, unless they are a service member or veteran of the armed force that has been discharge on good standard. One must also be a citizen, have a certificate of completing a weapon training class, no criminal, drug or alcohol abuse record. Lastly, one must complete fingerprints, a background check and have no mental records.
Steube explained he feels we need to catch up to the other seven states that allow concealed weapons on college campuses.
The Criminal Justice Committee Chair, Greg Evers, is also in support of the bill because of his younger daughter.
“There is a lot of sex offenders in the area and I would want my daughter to have a concealed weapon. I support the bill.” Evers said.
Another group supporting HB 4005 was FSU’s Florida Students for Concealed Carry Organization.
According to their website, Students for Concealed Carry represents all students regardless of race, creed, age, gender identity or political affiliation and we believe all should have the right to self-defense.
Ron Nelson, a third year political science student believes that when you try to join Weapons and the Education System, the result has always been disastrous.
“The tragic stories of Sandy Hook Elementary, the Virginia Tech Massacre, and the most recent event of the FSU shooting this past winter, serves as a reminder that education and guns are destined only for failure.” Nelson Said.
Jeremy Dixon, a senior political science student is also repulsed by HB 4005 and thinks it is a horrible solution for Americans to protect themselves against gun violence.
“ We as an educated and enlightened group of people must not bow-down to fear, and resort to thinking that we all must have a firearm as if we were living in the wild wild west.” Dixon said.
“As a current student of a higher education institution, it is my steadfast belief that we as Americans must act to stop gun violence; as a nation we must stop telling each other that the only way to defend ourselves is with a gun.” Dixon said.
HB 4005 will go for its first hearing and could be voted on, on February 20, 2015.