Students push to pack heat
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 22:09
Although an official meeting is yet to take place, a group of students looking to carry concealed weapons on campus has already created controversy.
Tim Cannedy is president of the new student group. He hasn’t even held a meeting yet, but he’s already been interviewed by two local television news stations and now Eagle News. The attention began when members of the Florida Gulf Coast University community saw fliers that had been posted on campus for his group, Eagles for Concealed Carry at FGCU. The visual focus of the fliers is an image of a gun.
Cannedy said he wanted to start the group because FGCU lacks deterrents such as metal detectors and ID check points.
“Anyone can come on campus with basically anything,” he said. “We feel people should be able to defend themselves on campus, and this is a good way to do that.”
According to their Facebook page, Students for Concealed Carry at FGCU has a two-part mission that includes education and advocacy.
1. To inform and educate its members and the university community about safe and responsible firearms ownership and concealed carry on campus.
This will be accomplished through formal education programs, through advocacy in the university community, and through leadership exemplifying safe, responsible, and lawful firearms ownership, carry and use.
2. To advocate for legislation recognizing the Second Amendment right of college students, faculty, and staff to bear arms on campus for the purpose of self-defense. Specifically, we wish to encourage legislators at the student government and state level to allow lawful concealed carry for those in possession of a concealed weapons or firearms license recognized by the state of Florida.
Kimma Barger is a junior majoring in elementary education, and she says she is opposed to the idea of concealed weapons at FGCU.
“All it could take to start a shooting would be a kid to show his gun while trying to be ‘cool’ and another taking it as a threat and shooting him,” said Barger. “Or a student getting upset over a bad grade and shooting a professor or fellow student. Concealed weapons should not be allowed in the school.”
Cannedy says his fellow students needn’t worry even if the group is successful in its efforts to help change state law.
“If someone pulls their weapon without just cause,” he said, “it’s called ‘brandishing’ and you go to jail for it.”
University Police Department Chief Steven Moore has seen the fliers.
“If this issue gets to the point of a bill being filed in the legislature, I will review it at that time,” said Moore in an email. “Last time the firearms issue was in the legislature the SGA, Faculty Senate, and the SUS Chiefs all issued statements opposed to guns on campus.”
Florida state law prohibits carrying concealed weapons in many places, including on college campuses. But there are exceptions to college grounds including if “the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile.”
FGCU also offers crime prevention classes and Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes.
Students for Concealed Carry at FGCU plans to have their first meeting the second week of October.
It is important to note that the term “concealed weapon” does not exclusively apply to handguns. According to Florida state law, “concealed weapons or concealed firearms are defined as a handgun, electronic weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie.”