Gun-rights advocates, including the powerful National Rifle Association, suffered a rare setback in the Florida Legislature this year when a bill to lift the state ban on carrying concealed weapons on college and university campuses came up short.
But the same House and Senate sponsors — Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican from Sarasota, and Sen. Greg Evers, a Republican from Baker — already have refiled the bill in each chamber for the next regular legislative session, which begins in January.
State law allows Floridians who are 21 or older to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons if they can pass a background check and demonstrate “competency with a firearm.” More than 1.4 million Floridians currently hold permits.
However, state law specifies 15 locations where permit holders are barred from carrying their concealed weapons, including schools, bars, courthouses, legislative meetings, polling places, airports, athletic events — and college and university campuses.
At least 10 states have changed their laws to permit concealed weapons on all or part of their college and university campuses.
Calls for Florida to follow suit picked up last year after a gunman at Florida State University wounded three people at the campus library before police arrived and shot him dead.
While the NRA backs the bill, its opponents include the presidents of Florida’s 12 public universities and their campus police chiefs.