Could Florida Finally Pass Campus Carry This Year?

New legislator wants to try again after several failures in recent years

Published Monday, January 14, 2019

State Representative Anthony Sabatini, a new Republican representing Howey-in-the-Hills, has put forth HB 6007, a bill of limited scope that would allow some students to carry firearms lawfully in Florida's colleges and universities, as well as elsewhere on campus. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Hill, Republican from Pensacola.

Similar bills in recent years have always failed in the Florida Senate, where a few powerful Senators had repeatedly stood in the way of any attempt at a campus carry bill. One of these Senators was John Thrasher, who is now out of office and currently the president of Florida State University. The two other notable names on that short list are Senator Anitere Flores, R-Miami and Senator René García, R-Hialeah. They are still in office but face a shrinking coalition refusing such a change.

Another reason to believe that this could be the year is new Republican Senate Judiciary Chair David Simmons, who seemed to voice some support when he stated that any campus carry bill filed in the Senate in conjunction with Sabatini’s would be "worth looking at, and debating and discussing."

Another key reason to think that Sabatini’s bill stands a much better chance of passage is the requirement in it that anyone wishing to take advantage of a new campus carry capability must be 21, as well as having to possess a concealed carry permit. Presumably, these restrictions would also make it easier for school resource officers to keep track of and respond to a lower number of students that might actually be carrying at any given time.