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Politics

Guns on Campus a No-No Say Floridians

March 26, 2015 - 7:00pm

Allowing guns on college campuses and in K-12 schools is firing up Floridians, but more than half of them say they oppose measures that would make carrying concealed weapons on school campuses legal, according to a new poll.

Two proposals currently making their way through the Florida Legislature would make it legal to carry guns on school grounds. One would make it legal for students aged 21 and up with concealed carry permits to have their weapons on campus, and the other would allow for "school safety designees" to bring guns on K-12 campuses in order to protect against violent crimes.

Florida is one of 20 states to prohibit firearms on campuses.

A new poll commissioned by Everytown for Gun Safety Action and Florida Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America found 61 percent of Floridians oppose the proposal to require all public colleges and universities in Florida to allow people to carry concealed handguns on campus.

The same percentage said they were in favor of prohibiting guns on K-12 campuses.

Most respondents (71 percent) said they believed it was possible to protect the Second Amendment right to own a gun while keeping dangerous people away from guns. Nearly half -- 48 percent -- said laws covering the sale of guns should be made stronger, but 39 percent said gun laws were fine just the way they are.

The proposals have pitted gun safety advocates and gun rights groups against each other. Gun rights groups say the laws will make schools safer -- on college campuses, carrying a weapon can help protect young women against attackers.

Police cant stop the crime, only the victim has a chance to stop it, said National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer. Hammer has been a staunch advocate of the legislation as it's made its way through various committees in recent weeks.

Those opposed to the legislation say not only are the proposals unpopular, but those supporting the legislation aren't listening to constituents and students who might be affected by the bill.

We already know campus police, college presidents, faculty, and students stand against this legislation. This is more evidence that the legislators who support these dangerous bills are out of touch with what Floridians really want," said Cheryl Anderson from the Florida Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Momentum Analysis and Chesapeake Beach Consulting conducted 800 phone interviews with likely 2016 Florida voters from March 11-15. The margin of error is +/ 3.5 percent.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen

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