In response to the recent shootings in Oregon, President Obama said, “When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we work to make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seat belt laws because we know it saves lives. So the notion that gun violence is somehow different … doesn’t make sense.”
As students, we have become survivors. It sometimes feels that it is no longer safe to go to class and the lingering threat of gun violence is especially prevalent in states where concealed carry is allowed on campuses. This is why all campus presidents and police chiefs in the state of Florida should strongly oppose legislation that would allow concealed carry on campus.
The narrative that this legislation is trying to create is that women would be safer on college campuses if concealed carry were allowed. As a woman, I am offended by this narrative, especially when it is statistically proven that when a gun is present, a woman is three and a half times more likely to be killed due to the perpetrator taking the weapon from the victim and using it against him or her.
This legislation does not make me feel safe; it makes me feel marginalized.
There are many other reasons this legislation shouldn’t be passed and one of them is that it’s not specific. This legislation only removes the clause that states, “Guns are prohibited on college campuses.” It doesn’t provide guidelines or funding for the implication. If this legislation were to pass, universities would be left with the cost of insurance on the new concealed carry policy on their campuses. This would leave public universities with no other option than to raise tuition. Meaning that students who do not carry will still be left with a higher tuition fee to pay.
The fee that this legislation would cost us is beyond monetary because it also interferes with education. Most students feel that if their campuses allow concealed carry, then they may opt to take classes online to avoid the lingering fear of gun violence. After speaking with faculty at UCF, professors are starting to say the same thing. This should be a major concern for the students of UCF, a university that prides itself on the principle of opportunity.
We have seen this legislation before and we have fought back and defeated it. As Knights we need to come together and take action. Start writing letters to the editor, calling your elected officials, starting petitions and having rallies on campus. Start fighting back and show the Florida legislature that we deserve a safe school.
Chelsea Daley is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.