Florida state Representative Scott Plakon (R-29) is pushing campus carry in the legislature after his daughter texted that she was trapped inside a school on lockdown.
The lockdown was issued on February 21, 2014, in what turned out to be a “hoax.” But from the time it was initiated until the time it was lifted, Plakon was calling and texting his daughter and, eventually, was standing outside the school building looking on helplessly.
Writing in the Orlando Sentinel, Plakon recounted the moment he was made aware of the lockdown:
“I’m in a code red at school. I’m so scared daddy.” That’s the text that I received from my daughter Jeanne at 12:25 p.m. on Feb. 21, 2014.
I called her — no answer. “I can’t talk dad. The whole school is in lockdown. Everyone was screaming in the cafeteria. … a lot of cops are speeding to the school.”
I responded, “I’m headed there right now and praying.”
“You can’t come here, Daddy. You won’t be allowed anywhere near the campus. There was a shooting, Daddy. I’m so scared. I can’t stop crying. We’re in my classroom with all of the lights turned off and huddled together.”
Plakon said he reached the scene 21 minutes later and saw the trepidation on the faces of other parents who had come, as well. “Parents with their faces against a chain-link fence, helicopters flying overhead and dozens of emergency vehicles,” he wrote.
He also wrote of his gratitude that the reports that launched the lockdown turned out to be a hoax, but reports at Virginia Tech (April 16, 2007), Upmqua Community College (October 1, 2015), UCLA (June 1, 2016), and so many other gun-free campuses around the country were not hoaxes.
Plakon said the experience with his daughter “changed [his] views as a legislator,” and he cannot stomach the idea that law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits are forced to sit defenselessly in classrooms and other college buildings in his state. He has introduced HB 6005 to remedy this situation by “[deleting] the ban on permit holders with concealed weapons from exercising their Second Amendment rights on college and university campuses.”
He went on to highlight that concealed carry permit holders are law-abiding, and he explained that one-in-twelve Floridians is already carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense. His wants Floridians to understand they are surrounded each day by law-abiding armed neighbors, shoppers, and drivers. A push for campus carry, therefore, is not a push to go from a no-gun society to a guns-everywhere society. Rather, it is a push to go from a defenseless-on-campus society to one in which our sons and daughters can defend their lives and the lives of their friends.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.