Despite leading state in reported sex assaults, Florida profs. vote to oppose campus carry

The faculty senate at the University of Florida (UF) passed a resolution on Feb., 27 opposing legislation that would allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on college campuses across the state of Florida.

“I think a lot of us are concerned about the sheer proliferation of weapons in areas that we have to be,” said Margaret Temple-Smith, a UF law professor, during the faculty senate meeting. “Especially when we’re dealing with people who are quite young, sometimes intoxicated, usually under stress, and often very angry at their teachers.”

Daniel Patrick Shaffer, a student at UF, told Campus Reform he was “insulted” by Smith’s remarks and the entire resolution.

“Most of the ‘intoxication’ that was addressed in the faculty senate hearing happens off of campus and long after teachers have gone home,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer also stated that because it is illegal to carry concealed weapons inside any establishment that serves alcohol, “students who value their permit will not be carrying their weapon anyway.”

House Bill 4005 and Senate Bill 176 are identical bills that would amend the relevant statute by “deleting a provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying a handgun or carrying a concealed weapon or firearm into a college or university facility.”

Legislators hope that this amendment will reduce the number of sexual assaults at UF and other campuses across the state.

According to legislators, the bill would serve young women like Amanda Collins, a former student at the University of Nevada, who was raped at gun-point. Collins was unable to defend herself because the state restricted her from carrying her concealed weapon on campus. Her rapist did not have a permit.

In an interview with the New York Times, Florida Rep. Gregory Steube (R), author and co-sponsor of the bill, said he hoped to invite Collins to testify on behalf of the bill.

“It’s moving to hear from a young woman that had a concealed carry and but for a university policy, she was raped,” he said.

UF leads the state in reported sexual assaults and was on high alert last semester after a string of sexual assaults on and around campus that all shared the same attack characteristics.

In addition to the attacks at UF, there have been two reported sexual assaults and an attempted abduction on and around the campus of Florida State University (FSU) in just the past week.

“Every time I hear about another girl being assaulted or abducted, it chills me to my core and I can't help but think ‘what if that happened to me?’” Lauren Bedford, an FSU student, told Campus Reform in an interview. “I think it's disturbing that I have to fear walking to my car after a late meeting on campus.”

Bedford said she would feel “absolutely more secure” if FSU was not a gun free zone.

According to a crime alert sent to FSU students and obtained by Campus Reform, one female student was approached by two men outside of her dorm who asked for directions last week. The student told police that while she was walking two males to their location, they attacked and sexually assaulted her.

In another crime alert sent to FSU students last week and obtained by Campus Reform, a male attempted to abduct a female student who was walking just off campus.

On Sunday, FSU students were notified that a female student was approached by a male who grabbed her waist and touched her inappropriately. According to the crime alert, campus police did not find the suspect.

As previously reported by Campus Reform, several states are beginning the push to allow for licensed gun owners to be able to legally carry on campus.

Florida is one of 10 other states to introduce campus-carry laws including Nevada, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

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