Florida public colleges are requesting $74 million to “fortify” school grounds in expectation of state approval for a “campus carry” guns-rights law.
The Bradenton Herald quotes Association of Florida Colleges executive director Michael Brawer saying that the possibility of campus carry has forced colleges to “recognize and offer alternatives–through this investment–to address the campus-security problem short of arming our students.” He said that lawmakers pushing campus carry “are largely in denial about the cost factor.”
Opponents of campus carry used this same argument in Texas, where they suggested that implementing campus carry would be so expensive it would reduce the quality of education and the effectiveness of research. The Houston Chronicle contended that campus carry “could cost tens of millions of dollars” and that money “could be … siphoned away from education and research programs at Texas universities.” M.D. Anderson’s Julie Penne said it could hurt “cancer research,” as well.
Lost in the argument was the fact that campus carry is just concealed carry exercised on campus. The costs are born by individual citizens–21 years old and up–who buy a handgun, pay for a concealed carry course, then buy ammunition to have in the gun while carrying it for self-defense.
Yet Florida’s “Council of Presidents voted Thursday morning to ask the Legislature to fund a $74 million, three-year plan to beef up campus security and pay for training, other resources and equipment at the 28 colleges.” And “the State University System this fall also requested $20.2 million for next year’s budget to fortify campus police at the state’s 12 public universities ($14 million) and improve funding for campus counseling centers ($6.2 million).”
Florida Democrats in the U.S. House sent a letter to Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) urging them to do something to “prevent” campus carry from passing.
No one knows if the bill will or will not pass when the Florida House votes on it in January, but one thing is certain: those opposed to it are using the same tactics that were used in Texas, where campus carry did pass and was signed by Governor Greg Abbott (R). It takes effect in August 2016.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.