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Student Government, Student Life

Concealed weapons on USF campus still up for debate

TAMPA — Student Government President Matthew Diaz is ready to support change in the University of South Florida’s policy which prohibits carrying concealed weapons in cars on campus.

According to the USF System’s Weapons Policy, only police officers and ROTC cadets, under direct supervision, are allowed to carry weapons.

“That is the breach of the constitution.” Austin DeForest, a political science major at USF, said.

Florida State law, under section 790.25, permits carrying concealed weapons in private conveyances, prohibiting them  on college grounds. USF’s Student Code of Conduct prevents students from bringing concealed weapons in their cars on campus.

According to the ‘Joe Carlucci Uniform Firearms Act’, state gun statutes are supreme to local laws.

“As a law enforcement officer you have to enforce the law and uphold the constitution of the state of Florida.” Lt. Charlotte Domingo, accreditation manager at the University Police Department, said. “So that’s our primary responsibility.”

Diaz has a situational view of guns on campus. He believes that campus safety agencies such as the USF Police Department, the blue lights and Allied Barton are effective and adequate.

“Obviously, I am adamant against me carrying a gun up here (Student Government office), or in the classroom,” Diaz said. “Say I live in a bad neighborhood, and I want to carry a gun with me in my car, and I leave it in my glove box and go to class without it, I can respect that.”

DeForest says that USF is in an unsafe area, and having unarmed students makes them easy targets and wishes to start a movement for a change in university policy.

“Yes, the student body president and the students can make it happen if they advocate strong enough for it,” Diaz said.

“I feel that everyone should have a weapon on campus because cops don’t react quick enough,” Deforest said.

Guns, Deforest thinks, are tools for self-defense, and it’s only a matter of treating it with respect and responsibility, which licensed gun owners like him understand.

Diaz argues that even though he agrees with the Second Amendment, he would not like a person to take the law in his or her own hands, or have the liability of a bystander being injured. However, if students advocate for it, he would support a movement for change in university policy to permit concealed weapons in cars, but not on person, in compliance with state laws.


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