SG tables concealed carry resolution

Both the USF Student Government (SG) Senate and state Senate are putting off the issue of allowing concealed carry on campus until another time.

On Tuesday, the SG Senate again voted to table the resolution that would present the views of the student body on concealed carry on campus — this time indefinitely.

The bill had been tabled the week before after the majority of senators felt the bill needed a week to consider additional amendments. 

The original version of the resolution stated that SG, on behalf of the USF student body, opposed the concealed carry of firearms on public university campuses. 

If it had been approved, SG would have sent that message to state leaders with the intention of influencing the Florida Senate and House of Representatives’ decision on the bill (HB4005, SB176) allowing concealed carry. 

SG changed the resolution to remove any opinion made on behalf of the students after some senators felt it was not their place to voice such a controversial opinion without being sure it accurately represented the views of students.

Instead of directly stating opposition to the bill, the amended resolution removed what some senators believed to be an emotional narrative in favor of presenting survey results for the Legislature’s consideration.

The survey, which originally justified the resolution, was conducted earlier this month. It asked 755 students opinions regarding concealed carry on campus. 

According to the survey, around 69 percent of students surveyed opposed concealed carry on campus. This number is composed of roughly 39 percent surveyed who opposed concealed carry everywhere, including on campus, and 30 percent surveyed who opposed concealed carry on campus, but not off campus. 

The survey also indicated around 54 percent of students surveyed felt safer without concealed carry on campus.

The amended bill broke down the survey to the decimal point. It also spelled out the math by providing the percentage of students who did support concealed carry — roughly 27 percent.

Despite excluding a conclusive argument, there were still concerns Tuesday that the survey may have been worded with a bias meant to sway students to give anti-concealed carry answers. 

Others still questioned whether the survey was based on a truly random sample. The survey was conducted both online and by surveyors at tent day.

Senator Corey Ulloa also wanted to remove the top clause of the resolution that indicated the USF Tampa University Police chief opposed concealed carry. Ulloa said it started the resolution off with too much of an opinion.

After some discussion, the SG Senate voted to table the bill indefinitely, with 19 senators voting in favor and 7 voting against.

While the vote last week was so close it needed a tiebreaker, senators this week did not feel as rushed. Even Senator Samuel Shiflett, who wrote the survey and voiced urgency to the passing of the resolution the week prior, did not seem upset at the possibility of it being tabled.

Since Tuesday was SG’s last meeting in spring, the resolution will have to be rewritten and brought back up again next session. 

Still, many SG senators felt no hurry because the concealed carry bill has been stalled in the Florida Senate after not making it out of committee. As legislative committee meetings ended last week, it won’t have a chance to see the floor for voting until next session. 

Nonetheless, many university students, faculty and police show no sign of letting the issue go. Florida State University delivered a petition with over 10,000 student signatures opposing the bill to the Florida Senate president April 14 — the same day USF SG first tabled the resolution.