House bill would allow some to carry guns on university campuses

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  • | 12:00 p.m. January 15, 2015
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A House panel is expected next week to take up a bill that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on the campuses of state colleges and universities.

The bill (HB 4005), filed by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

It comes after a shooting incident in November at Florida State University that left three people wounded and the gunman killed by police.

Steube and other supporters have argued that allowing people to carry guns on campus could help prevent incidents such as the Florida State shooting.

But a similar bill failed in 2011, at least in part because of another shooting incident at the university. Ashley Cowie, 20, was at a campus party when a gun held by another student accidentally discharged, sending a bullet through her chest and killing her.

The girl’s father lobbied against the 2011 bill, arguing that putting guns in an area where drugs and alcohol are commonly used would make campuses more dangerous.

Steube’s proposal will be the first bill taken up by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee as it prepares for the annual legislative session, which starts March 3. Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Greg Evers, R-Baker, has filed an identical proposal (SB 176) in the Senate.