The Florida chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements after the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee passed SB 498, which would allow guns into K-12 schools and college campuses that are on the same grounds as religious institutions.
“Guns have no place on any school campus, let alone at a church school,” said Reverend Deacon Dianne Larson, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “I know the dangers that allowing guns into schools poses firsthand – my daughter was at Episcopal School of Jacksonville in 2012 when a recently fired teacher shot and killed the headmaster and then himself. Our lawmakers should reject this risky legislation and keep guns off of school grounds.”
“I have plenty of things on my list of things to worry about in school already, and the last thing our lawmakers should do is to add ‘armed strangers’ to that list,” said Anna Logan, a volunteer with Leon High School Students Demand Action and a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board who attended a middle school on religious property. “This dangerous provision would only increase the chances of gun violence on school grounds, and our lawmakers should reject it.”
This proposal presents a danger for students of all ages. Research strongly supports the idea that children will access guns when they are present, and there have been numerous incidents where guns carried into schools were misplaced or stolen. On college campuses, increased firearm access is especially worrisome for an age group that has experienced 42 percent increase in firearm suicide over the past decade.
Under SB 498, if a private elementary, middle, high school, or college campus has any religious institution located on the property, guns would presumptively be allowed to be carried anywhere on that campus by concealed weapon license holders.