Local educators and students react to Campus Carry bill

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Florida Legislative session is set to begin in March and campus carry will be up for debate for a third year in a row.

State Representative Anthony Sabatini filed the proposed bill in November and local educators said they’re unsure if allowing weapons on campus would create a safer environment for their students and staff.

The bill would allow people with concealed-carry permits to bring a handgun or concealed weapon on college campuses in Florida.

Dr. Irvin Clark, the associate dean for Florida State University Panama City, said their position on the bill is simple.

“We are opposed to students or anyone having weapons on our campus other than our certified law enforcement officers,” Clark said.

Clark said he is confident in their on-campus law enforcement’s ability to keep students safe and said allowing guns on campus could be more of a detriment to the university.

“Putting our students in harms way in any shape, form or fashion, is just not part of our mission,” Clark said. “Our mission is teaching and learning and making productive citizens that go out with a good quality education from Florida State University Panama City that could make a difference for their lives and this country.”

Florida State University Panama City’s Student Body President, Lucy Rodriguez, said student success should come first when making this decision.

“I think as long as we can keep that as our main focus, any other decisions that are made will ultimately keep students safe and keep students comfortable,” Rodriguez said. “I think the classroom in particular needs to be a really safe place so the second students don’t feel safe in the classroom, they’re not gonna learn.”

Clark said if the legislature agrees to pass the bill that it is beyond their control.

He said they hope they do not pass the bill but in the event the bill does pass, he said they will adjust accordingly with conversations and trainings about weapon safety.

Should the bill pass, it will go into effect on July 1st.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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