A new gun bill (SB 234) would allow people to have guns on university and college campuses. The bill has been delayed after the father of one victim has spoken out. The father of Ashley Cowie, a Florida State University student who was killed accidentally on campus when a gun was fired at a college party, spoke out against the bill before a hearing of the Senate committee. His testimony helped to delay the bill.
Cowie and other opponents of the bill note that the legislation might be dangerous and may lead to Florida injuries to minors. Cowie noted that the atmosphere of college parties and the drinking which occurs on campuses makes gun possession very dangerous, allowing accidents to happen easily. Doctors have been opposing the bill on the grounds that it may lead to an increased risk of personal injuries and deaths, but the National Rifle Association is supporting the proposed legislation.
Currently, legislators in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska and Mississippi have all proposed legislation which would allow registered gun owners to carry guns on campuses. Advocates of the bills claim that in the wake of school shootings and violence, such new laws would give students and faculty the means to defend themselves. Opponents note that high stress and suicide rates as well as rates of theft in dorm rooms would make gun ownership a recipe for fatalities and personal injuries.
In addition to allowing guns on campuses, bill SB 234 would not allow doctors to ask patients about gun ownership. Only psychiatrists and psychologists handling psychotic or emergency situations would be able to ask such a question. Under the proposed legislation, doctors would be fined $10,000 for a first offense, a minimum of $25,000 for a second offense, and at least $100,000 for subsequent offences of asking a patient whether they owned a gun.
As a result, doctors have been opposing the bill as well, claiming that it can put them at risk and it interferes with their ability to determine whether a patient is a danger to themselves or others. Advocates of the bill, including the National Rifle Association, however, claim that doctors who ask patients about gun ownership violate second amendment rights. Bill SB 234 is sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker. In a vote, Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Sunny Isles was the one opposing vote to the legislation.
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