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New survey says Floridians oppose guns on campuses bill

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Florida’s rather relaxed rules regarding who can use a gun have led to critics dubbing it the “Gunshine State.” And that was before this year’s legislative session got underway.

Current proposals before state lawmakers this spring include a proposal that would allow college students to carry concealed weapons on campus. They’re also considering arming public school personnel to help protect kids. And don’t forget the Jeff Brandes-sponsored bill that in the event of a hurricane-based evacuation, gun owners with a concealed carry license would still be able to carry a weapon during said evacuation.

Though there has been some criticism of the proposals in the Legislature by Democrats, they’re far outnumbered and, in a few cases, are finding common cause with their GOP colleagues on these issues.

Now comes a poll from two gun-control groups that say the masses in Florida aren’t onboard with these proposals.

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Florida Moms Demand Action have commissioned a poll that actually surveys more Republicans than Democrats (35-32 percent). Among the findings?

61 percent of Floridians oppose requiring colleges and universities to allow concealed weapons on their campuses.

61 percent of Floridians oppose changing Florida law to allow guns in K-12 schools.

Only eight percent of Floridians say the state’s gun laws should be weakened, compared to 48 percent who would like to see gun laws strengthened, and 39 percent who would like gun laws to remain unchanged.

“The poll shows that Floridians overwhelmingly oppose the gun lobby’s misguided push to force guns onto college campuses and allow them in K-12 schools,” said Cheryl Anderson, a volunteer with the Florida Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We already know campus police, college presidents, faculty, and students stand against this legislation. This is more evidence that the legislators who support these dangerous bills are out of touch with what Floridians really want.”

Earlier this month the two groups held a rally on the steps of the Old Capitol before meeting with lawmakers and staff members. They say they also delivered some 12,000 postcards to legislators signed by Floridians with the message “backpacks and bullets don’t mix.

Momentum Analysis and Chesapeake Beach Consulting conducted 800 phone interviews with likely 2016 Florida voters from March 11-15, 2015. The margin of error is +/ 3.5. The survey says that 35 percent of those interviewed identified themselves as Republican, 5 percent independent but leaning Republican, 32 percent Democrat, 6 percent independent but leaning Democrat, and 28 percent independent. When asked if they were more conservative or liberal, the results came out 35 percent net Republican, 22 percent net Democrat.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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