UCF students weigh in on proposal to allow gun owners to carry on Florida campuses

A lake county lawmaker is pushing for people with concealed-weapons licenses to be able to carry on college campuses

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida lawmaker is trying to move forward a long-debated proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry handguns on Florida college and university campuses.

Florida Rep. Anthony Sabatini, of Howey-in-the-Hills, filed the bill Thursday for consideration during the 2020 legislative session.

Similar legislation has failed in the past, but what’s changed since then is the climate. The previous bills were filed before the Parkland school shooting.

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Sabatini filed the "campus carry" proposal after years of failed attempts by gun-rights supporters to get the bill passed. Sabatini proposed a similar measure for the 2019 session, but it was not heard in House committees.

And while Sabatini and other supporters of the bill claim it will make campuses safer, others said they fear it will have the opposite effect.

Channel 9 reporter Samantha Manning asked UCF students for their thoughts Thursday.

“I don't see the point of it really," said UCF student Morgen Shaver. "I feel like the gun situation is just kind of scary overall."

"If we're going to school on campus, we're doing things related to school, so why do we need a gun on campus?" UCF student Alexis Hawkins added.

As of July 31, Florida had more than 2 million people with concealed-weapons licenses.

The proposals in the past have been opposed by higher-education leaders such as Florida State University President John Thrasher, a former House speaker and state senator.