Bill Allowing Guns on College Campuses Pass Committee Votes
This week Florida lawmakers took an important step toward allowing individuals to carry weapons on Florida college campuses. Both the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and the Senate Criminal Justice Committee passed a bill that would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their guns while on campus. Supporters of the bill claim that this is an issue of public safety: they claim that those intent on committing violent acts on campuses will do so regardless of whether the campus is a designated gun-free zone and that allowing students and faculty who are concealed carry permit holders to bring their weapons to campus could stop a mass shooting or violent attack from being committed. Opponents of the bill, however, state that permitting guns on campus – where alcohol and drug use are prevalent and where students often make impulsive decisions – is an invitation for trouble.
Current Florida Laws Regarding Guns on Campuses
For now, Florida law prohibits individuals from carrying a firearm on a college campus, even if the person with the weapon possesses a concealed carry permit. Violating this statute is a second-degree misdemeanor. But in our current culture, where mass shootings seem to occur with increasing regularity, it is easy to conceive of various other, more serious charges that can result from carrying a weapon:
- Assault or aggravated assault;
- Criminal threat; and/or
- Terrorism charges.
Until the law changes, only registered students, employees, and faculty of a college or university can carry a stun gun or electric weapon so long as (1) it is designed solely for self defense; and (2) the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile (so no Tasers are permitted).
It is important to note that Florida court decisions have held that concealed carry permit holders could not be prohibited from storing a firearm in their cars, even if that car is parked in a college parking lot. Also, different rules apply to community colleges where the board of trustees is permitted to place additional restrictions on firearm access and possession in buildings and on property owned by the community college.
What Happens When I Am Charged with a Weapons-Related Crime?
Being caught with a weapon where possessing such weapon is not permitted is a serious matter. Any time a weapon is involved in an investigation – even if the weapon is never brandished or displayed – law enforcement and prosecutors can use the mere fact you were found in possession of a weapon to suggest you had some nefarious purpose in mind or that you are, in general, a violent or angry person.
This is why anytime you are charged with a weapons-related charge, you need aggressive legal representation from Jeffrey S. Weiner, Florida criminal defense attorney. Attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner is well-versed in the elements of weapons-related criminal charges and how to defend individuals unjustly accused of violating these laws. Depending on your specific circumstances, he may be able to have severe charges reduced to less severe charges, or to have a weapons-related charge dismissed entirely. Learn what he can do for you by calling Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. at (305) 670-9919 and discussing your case with an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer.