After hours of debate, a measure that would let concealed-carry permit holders 21 and older carry on Florida’s public college and university campuses passed 80-37 in that state’s House Wednesday.
HB4001 encountered strong opposition from Democrats, including Rep. Barbara Watson, who said, “We need to do the responsible thing and protect every student at the school.” Rep. Dave Kerner concurred, saying the measure “frightens me on a level that I haven’t felt with other legislation.”
But bill cosponsor Democrat Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda has seen the futility of gun-free zones in her own district—in November 2014 a gunman on FSU’s campus shot three people before police could arrive. She and several House Republicans say incidents like these prove so-called “gun-free zones” don’t exist.
The Senate version of the bill was killed in the Judiciary Committee, but the victory in the House is a step in the right direction, and proponents say they’ll try again next year.