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Bill Day’s latest: Florida battles (again) over guns on campus

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Bill Day’s latest takes aim at Florida lawmakers, who once again are pushing ahead with a bill that seeks to allow people to carry guns on college campuses.

Backed by the National Rifle Association, the campus concealed carry bill – as well as another proposal – became the first measures passed by legislative committees in preparation for the 2016 Legislative Session beginning January.

Sponsored in the House by state Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota, and state Sen. Greg Evers of Baker – both Republicans – the bill will allow licensed gun owners to carry at Florida colleges and universities. This week, the measure passed both the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Supporters such as the NRA say it is about public safety. Their logic is that concealed weapon license holders should not be denied their constitutional rights, and could help keep campuses safe from violent events such as a mass shooting. Opponents believe universities, already a high-stress environment, should not permit the added danger of guns available on campus.

The long-contentious issue of allowing guns on Florida colleges has died in the Legislature three previous sessions, including earlier this year after a shooting at Florida State University — near the Capitol itself — left three people injured, and the shooter dead.

Day hopes this time will be the fourth.

Guns rights and safety in the United States continues to be a complex problem, regardless of where individuals stand on the issue.

The Second Amendment, for many Americans, is absolute. But, in reality, there are no absolutes, even in our beloved Constitution.

Just as many people – or more — argue that there have always been (and probably will continue to be) reasonable limitations on constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Often the nation places these limits to protect the general welfare.

No matter how lawmakers ultimately decide on this latest effort to allow guns on campus, Floridians can only hope that they remain both informed and knowledgeable on the matter, and try (if possible) to resist strong feelings that are sure to come from both sides of a very emotional issue.

BILL DAY NO GUNS ON CAMPUS

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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