By: Jennifer Garcia, Executive Editor, J.D. Candidate, May 2019, St. Thomas University School of Law.

Abstract

Most states have allowed for their citizens to carry concealed weapons as long as they become licensed by the state; Florida is one of them. However, this concealed carry right is limited in that concealed weapon permit holders are prohibited from carrying on college or university campuses. This restriction is not beneficial to campus security and is not fair to law- abiding citizens, who cannot protect themselves against violent attacks. Opponents of “campus carry” take the position that allowing concealed carry on campus will increase violence and do little to protect people against possible attackers. However, this is simply inaccurate. Eleven states in the United States already allow for campus carry, and none of them have reported any negative consequences due to this. Florida should follow in the steps of these eleven states as allowing individuals who are licensed to carry concealed weapons to do so on college and university campuses, does not necessarily have a negative impact on campus security. Studies have shown that allowing individuals to carry concealed weapons actually deters criminals. Since they want to maximize their number of victims, killers choose targets where they know no one will be armed. “Gun-free” school campuses fit the definition of this type of desired target. So it follows that if gunmen knew that they could potentially face a threat of resistance, they would not likely pick schools as their targets.

Allowing individuals to carry their concealed weapons on campus can help students defend themselves, and others, against any type of attack. Allowing students and faculty to carry concealed weapons is better than allowing them to become victims of violence. The most common objections to campus carry are that schools are already safe enough, that armed students who try to intervene will cause more harm than good and will likely confuse police, and that allowing guns in school will lead the armed individuals to commit violent crimes on campus. However, even if opponents of campus carry do not think that campus carry has a positive impact, they have no proof to indicate that it has a negative one.