Opponents of concealed weapons on campus to meet in Orlando
Florida’s universities are mostly quiet in these final days of the summer break, but a battle is brewing in the fight over concealed weapons on campus.
"We're starting to meet with different stakeholders--faculty , presidents, students, law enforcement and others," said Andy Pelosi, executive director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
Pelosi’s group is teaming up with the League of Women Voters of Florida to hold a day-long summit in Orlando on Thursday.
"We just don't want to have the presence of concealed weapons [on college campuses] whether it's carried by faculty, by presidents, [or] by students," Pelosi said.
Opponents of campus carry won a victory earlier this year when republican lawmakers blocked measures that were supported by the powerful National Rifle Association. Those bills have been re-filed for the legislative session that begins in January. Pelosi said there is no time to rest.
"I think we have to work hard. That's for sure. The gun lobby still wants this bill,” he said.
The campus carry bills would allow anyone over the age of 21 with a concealed carry license to have a gun on campus.
“First and foremost it's about protecting people,” said Erek Culbreath, the president of Florida Students for Concealed Carry.
The Florida State University graduation student said his position was backed up by the deadly shooting on the Florida State University campus in 2014.
"It helped people realize this is an issue for them and their safety is an issue even on college campuses," Culbreath said.
The shooting at the university’s main library prompted legislation, and heated debate, but the issue did not have enough support to pass. Campus carry supporters hope that by putting the bills before lawmakers early in the legislative session they’ll have more time to make their case.
“Basically all we need is Republicans and if we get that we should be alright," Culbreath said.