The majority of Floridians don’t support allowing guns on college campuses and over half oppose open carry in the Sunshine State, according to a new poll.
The University of North Florida survey found 62 percent of Florida voters oppose legislation to allow concealed weapons on college campuses, with 48 percent strongly opposing the measure.
A smaller percentage -- 34 percent -- said they support campus carry.
State Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has sponsored legislation to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry their firearms on college campuses in the Legislature this year. Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, is sponsoring the House bill to allow campus carry in Florida.
“If the legislature is paying attention to public opinion, this signals that House Bill 6005 might not make it to the governor’s desk for the second time in two years,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the UNF Public Opinion Research Laboratory.
Florida voters were also not too convinced they wanted open carry in the Sunshine State, either. The survey found over half -- 53 percent -- oppose allowing CCW permit holders to openly carry their handguns in Florida outside of police stations, prisons, courthouses, schools and places where alcohol is served.
Binder said that proposal, too, could be at odds with Florida voters’ opinions.
“In what could be another signal to Tallahassee about Senate Bill 140, voters aren’t supportive of bringing open carry laws to Florida,” Binder said. “While Floridians might not be open to expanding gun laws, they don’t support prohibiting the sale of assault weapons, which could signal that House Bill 167 isn’t going to get passed either.”
Pro-gun groups have strongly advocated for both of the proposals during this year’s legislative session.
NRA past president and lobbyist Marion Hammer told Sunshine State News that state lawmakers were in tune with the true wants and desires of Florida voters, which she said explains why the bills have had a better time passing through committees this year.
“The overwhelming majority of Florida citizens support the constitutional right of self-defense,” said National Rifle Association past president and current lobbyist Marion Hammer. “That's what these issues are about. Legislators know that.”
Opponents, however, disagree and say the gun measures would be detrimental to Floridians, especially when it comes to campus carry.
“It is time for our lawmakers to listen to our concerns and ensure that our schools remain educational safe havens,” said Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Florida chapter head Michelle Gajda.
The survey of 973 Florida voters was conducted from Feb. 13-26 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.14 percentage points.
The 2017 legislative session begins Tuesday.