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The Florida Senate's Higher Education Committee voted 5-3 Tuesday in favor of Senate Bill 68, which would allow individuals with the proper concealed-carry licenses to carry guns on college campuses.

If the bill continues to move forward, it would go into effect on July 1, 2016.

The bill is identical to previous House Bill 4005, which was struck down twice in the House earlier this year, as well as to HB 4001, which is currently in the Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says that 19 states had banned carrying a concealed weapon on campuses as of June 2015, according to a previous Central Florida Future article. Twenty-three states leave the decision up to the respective state university systems, and eight currently allow the carrying of concealed weapons on campus.

UCF's current policy only allows those with concealed-carry permits to have guns in a locked vehicle on campus.

UCF Police Chief Richard Beary previously aired his concerns regarding HB 4005 in an interview with the Central Florida Future.

"If you can get a concealed-weapons permit in the state of Florida by going and sitting through a one-hour class at a gun show and never have to demonstrate that you can safely use your gun, I'm telling you, you are a bigger threat to our students than you are a help," said Beary, who is also a trained firearms instructor.

A rally took place at the corner of Alafaya Trail and University Boulevard earlier this month to protest the possible passing of the bill in the Florida legislature. Protesters argued that they don't want to see the same thing happen on UCF's campus that happened in the recent Oregon campus shooting.

Additionally, UCF's chapter of the United Faculty of Florida adopted a resolution in opposition to the bill in March.

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Danielle Hendrix is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByDaniHendrix or email her at DanielleH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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