Words by Chris Wagoner.
In a very interesting ruling, the Florida 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that College Students could carry firearms onto campus in their cars. In the State of Florida, it had been held as illegal to bring a firearm onto a college campus. Colleges claimed they fell under the exception to the gun carry law in Florida that allows that because they were a “School District”. The Court held that the Colleges could not simply waive a person’s Constitutional right and reversed a lower court’s ruling.
What the ruling basically does is prohibit Colleges from preventing, and prosecuting, a student for having a firearm in their vehicle. Students have been trying to get the State of Florida carry laws changed after the Virginia Tech and other college and university shootings to allow them to carry concealed on campus. But they were even prevented from bringing the firearms onto campus by the previous law. Now that that law has been found un-constitutional, students stand a better chance of getting the State laws changed in favor of concealed carry on Florida College Campuses.
As a 33 year police veteran, firearms instructor and former military police officer, I can say that without a doubt I am very much in favor of allowing students to carry concealed on campus (of course given they have a concealed permit). I think that had we had a couple of concealed carry students in those other places when the shootings took place there is a very good chance that the shooter would have been stopped or at least slowed down. All we do by creating these gun free zones is make a place a shooter can go and know that they are not very likely to meet anyone that can shoot back until the police arrive.
I have heard the argument that college “kids” are not mature enough to carry concealed on campus and all we are doing is inviting trouble. I beg to differ! College age kids carry guns all day and actually use them in the military all the time. College age “kids” fly multi-million dollar aircraft, drive multi-million dollar tanks and vehicles in the military, I think we can trust some trained concealed carry students to do the right things on college campuses.
It is surprising to most of my police co-workers that I support concealed carry by college students, and I like to remind them that we have a lot of combat vets in college right now, and would you not trust them with a firearm? I would trust some of them more than I would trust some of my fellow officers, who shoot only once a year when required.
I say let’s get as many people who are mentally and physically capable and want to carry a firearm concealed, let’s let them! That way the bad guys will not know who and who does not have a firearm for self or other defense. I carry everywhere, to the local grocery store, the local stop and rob (gas station), and even to Disney World. Yes I know they are a gun free zone also, but what Mickey doesn’t know can’t hurt him, and when that stupid idiot decides to shoot up Animal Kingdom, I hope to be there to try and stop them.
Be well and stay safe, train – train – train and train some more!