Guns on Campus, Florida Edition

Writing for the website of Channel 10 News in the Tampa Bay-Sarasota metro area, Sarah Hollenbeck has reported on two bills currently being considered in the Florida state legislature that would legalize guns on the campuses of the state’s colleges and universities.

Here are the highlights of the article:

“Some college leaders estimate the cost could be more than a million dollars each for the state’s 83 public colleges and universities, but supporters say you can’t put a price tag on security. Supporters elaborate if someone were to bring a gun on campus, you’d be happy you or the person beside you is armed and able to fight back.

“Universities we talked to say they’d have to hire extra police officers and arm them with new firearms. . . .

“Some schools tell us they fear adding guns to the equation will invite violence onto campus and take away from the reason students are there in the first place: to learn.

“Representative Greg Steube of Sarasota, who is sponsoring the bill, says universities are using those cost estimates as a scare tactic, adding that places like grocery stores don’t spend additional money on security because concealed weapon permit holders carry there.

“’I think it’s absurd. What are they going to need to implement because law abiding citizens are carrying? Does Publix, Walmart, restaurants, malls, parks or churches need to spend additional money on security because concealed weapon permit holders carry in those places? No,’ Steube said. . . .”

How can one argue with such a Russian-roulette exercise in logic.

With circular illogic, the gun lobby insists that the proliferation of guns protects us, rather than endangers us, but, when a mass shooting occurs and the much-promised “good guy with a gun” is again nowhere to be found, then they argue that guns have become so prevalent that there is no actual way to prevent them from being used malevolently—beyond continuing to pin our hopes on a “good guy with a gun.”

I would challenge anyone to identify any other threat to public safety for which that sort of argument has proven to be or has been accepted as a viable response. Perhaps we should eliminate all restrictions on drinking and driving and simply rely on truckers to identify vehicles being driven by people under the influence and then to force those vehicles off the roads—if not over steep embankments, then into ponds that will simply swallow up the vehicles and their occupants.

Shared governance, academic freedom, tenure and continuing contracts for non-tenure-eligible faculty have all recently been under attack at various Florida colleges and universities. It seems clear that these attacks on the core principles that have created and sustained American higher education are part of a pattern—the result of a deliberate effort–rather than simply coincidental. Instead of being attributed to any sort of skewed priorities at individual institutions, they must be attributed to an aggressive political ideology that at its core has little to no respect for higher education. Campus-carry will mean that being a faculty member in Florida places one in a perpetual state of physical, as well as professional and economic, jeopardy.


Hollenbeck’s complete article is available at:




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