Faculty senate shoots down concealed carry
FGCU faculty senate voted once again against concealed carry on campus Friday, Oct. 2.
Last year, the issue was discussed in faculty senate and it was shot down, as well. This year, the issue was discussed again because of the U.S. House of Representatives Bill 4005 and Senate Bill 176. These bills propose concealed carry of firearms on college campuses.
Sandra Pavelka, vice president of faculty senate, facilitated the discussion during the meeting and said the group has had a long-standing opposing position regarding concealed weapons on campus. “Many other university faculty senates across the state and student governments, including ours, who opposed it last year, have had an adamant opposition to these bills,” Pavelka said. “I strongly believe that right now the weapons are in the hands of the people that they need to be on campus— those being UPD,” she said. Pavelka said Student Government will also be discussing a possible resolution similar to what it passed last year, which opposed concealed carry on campus. “I was speaking to Jessica Scanlon (student body vice president) in the meeting and she said that they were willing to discuss the bill at an upcoming SG meeting,” Pavelka said. Chief StevenMoore said he is against the bills. “Basically, my opinion just comes down to that I don’t feel that having more guns will make it safe in the event of an active shooter,” Moore said. “My issue with it all is that having more people having guns in the day to day will result in more individual incidents. I’mjust not in favor.”
Moore said UPD officers are trained to respond in case of an active shooter.
“Of course, we hope we never have to use it, but we do train,” Moore said. “Lee County and airport police train with us, as well.”
Alexander Britton, an FGCU student, thinks the law could be positive if exercised correctly.
“I think there’s potential for it to be a good thing, but it’s impractical,” Britton said. “College students are typically irresponsible, immature, hormonal, dangerous and unfortunately, aggressive by nature — especially college guys. There would have to be some regulations standards as to who can get the license. They would need to go to safety training and mental evaluations. But like I said, the idea has potential as long as it’s done right.”
Amanda Putnik, FGCU student, does not support concealed firearms on campus, except for the parking lot.
“Guns shouldn’t belong on campus and in the classrooms,” Putnik said. “I do see some exceptions to this law in regards to the parking lot.”
Putnik said many incidences, such as the shooting that took place last week at a community college in Oregon, have occurred where students have carried weapons onto college campuses and caused several deaths and injuries.
“College should be a place where students feel safe to come and learn and achieve their goals and aspirations,” Putnik said. “If there were guns on campus, it would take away from college being a safe environment.”
Regarding the Oregon shooting, Pavelka said faculty senate discussed the tragedy and included it in the resolution. It also voted to send its condolences to the community college and to the victims’ families.
“The timing to discuss the bills was interesting,” Pavelka said. “Our campus is one of the safest in the country. I think that if the legislation passes it would change the campus culture.”