Today, four students will congregate in the cold to debate an issue currently being discussed in the Florida Legislature: concealed carry on campus. At 6 p.m., these four will meet in the Marshall Student Center Amphitheatre to share their argument and raise awareness of the issue. Each team will consist of two current USF students.
A senior majoring in political science, Katrina Payne is in favor of concealed carry on campus. She will open the debate for her team.
She said her biggest motivator for supporting concealed carry on campus has everything to do with personal safety.
“My biggest reason for being (in favor of) concealed carry is personal self-defense, especially being a single woman,” Payne said.
“I believe it’s my right (to carry a firearm), regardless of the situation presented to me.”
Many students, she said, believe that if concealed weapons are allowed on campus, every single one of their classmates will immediately arm themselves and the campus will become a hotbed of potential violence.
However, that is not the case.
“When you narrow it down to the facts, there really aren’t that many concealed carriers as you might assume,” she said. “Most students aren’t even eligible, because they’re not old enough.”
Her hope is that this debate will shed light on the facts and eliminate some of the fear associated with concealed carry.
The issue of on-campus concealed carry has been debated for decades, and many now-college-age students grew up with a fear of campus shootings thanks in part to incidences like the Virginia Tech shootings and the Columbine massacre.
The debate will take place at 6 p.m.