UCF faculty speaks out against guns on campus bill
A proposal that would allow firearms on campus has stirred heated debate among the UCF community. The latest group to join in on the discussion is the UCF faculty.
The UCF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida recently adopted a resolution in opposition to the legislation, according to an email sent out by UFF treasurer and UCF associate professor Barry Mauer. The House Bill, it states, would create an "atmosphere of fear, suspicion and intimidation" on college campuses.
Most recently, the Senate Higher Education Committee passed the legislative proposal with a 6-3 vote.
With the allowance of guns on campus, the resolution asserts that students and teachers would be pre-occupied wondering who is armed, distracting them from classroom business.
"Educators and students are not reassured by the presence of firearms in the classroom. Far from it, we are terrified," the resolution states.
Additionally, with controversial topics sometimes being discussed in the classroom —and college students holding the highest rates of suicide, alcoholism and emotional problems — members of the UFF fear being shot in the workplace if this bill were to pass.
In fact, according to the resolution, the UFF claims it would be virtually impossible for a "good guy" with a gun to stop a "bad guy" with a gun in an active shooter situation. The chance of hitting an innocent bystander is very high.
UCF Police Chief Richard Beary echoed these concerns in a previous interview with the Central Florida Future.
"This whole mindset that 'oh, well if somebody's there and they've got a concealed weapons permit they can be the hero and end this gun fight' — garbage," Beary said. "They are a bigger threat to the students and they're a bigger threat to themselves than they are assisting law enforcement."
The resolution also cites that 486 deaths have resulted from mass shootings in the nation in the past 14 years, compared with the 32,163 annual deaths from firearms in general.
Accompanying this resolution in opposition to House Bill 4005, the UFF has also created a resolution that would give teachers and students the right to vacate an environment when firearms may be present.
The hot-button issue has also sparked student organizations to speaks out. Chelsea Daley, president of College Democrats at UCF, created the group Students Against Guns on Campus. Proponents of the bill have also formed an alliance called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
Caroline Glenn is the News Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @byCarolineGlennor email her at CarolineG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.