Florida passes permitless carry – what does that mean for FIU?

Via Unsplash

Victor Garcia |  Contributing Writer

In a historic victory for gun rights groups, Florida has become the most recent state to pass permitless carry, following Governor Ron DeSantis signing of Senate Bill 150, on April 3. 

The bill and its sister House Bill 543 would eliminate the need for background checks and training while requiring Floridians to still follow all gun ownership requirements. 

 The law also denotes where firearms are still banned, such as police stations, courthouses and schools. 

Though firearms are still banned from university campuses, the legislation allows licensed students, employees, and faculty members to carry stun guns or non-lethal, nonprojectile electric weapons or devices.

FIUPD on the New Law

FIU’s Firearms and Dangerous Weapons Policy, revised February 1, 2023, states that all persons are prohibited from possessing, storing, using or manufacturing any dangerous articles like firearms, electric weapons and explosives in any of the campuses. 

According to FIU police chief Alexander Casas, thanks to the malleability of the bill, FIU’s policy will remain unchanged. 

 “The law doesn’t change anything in FIU, because the law still allows carry-outs for locations where you are not allowed to carry weapons like schools or universities,” said Casas in an interview with PantherNOW.

“It doesn’t supersede university policies, so until the university changes its policies, that doesn’t allow weapons at all – FIU shouldn’t have any type of weapons.”

This policy applies to all on campus, with the exception of on-duty law enforcement officers and faculty in the performance of instructional or research responsibilities. 

However, Casas worries that those unfamiliar with the bill’s text will carry, regardless of the prohibition. 

“My biggest concern is that when that law passes or goes into effect on July 1 is that people assume that they can carry their weapons anywhere.” 

What You Need to Know

So what do students need to know? The FIU Firearms and Dangerous Weapons Policy outlines FIU’s rules on carrying weapons on campus. 

The policy prohibits students, faculty, staff and guests from having, keeping or manufacturing “dangerous articles” on any of FIU’s campuses. 

These articles include:

  • firearms
  • destructive devices
  • explosives
  • slingshots
  • weapons
  • tear gas guns
  • electric weapons or devices
  • fireworks

Those who have a license should know that for the purpose of this policy university campuses and dormitories are not considered to be private residences, homes or places of business but rather property of the University. 

The policy reminds individuals who have a license to carry that each building, including dorms, “ are not considered to be private residences, homes or places of business but rather the property of the University.” 

Anyone with knowledge of someone possessing, storing, manufacturing, or using any dangerous article should report it immediately to the FIUPD. You can do this by calling (305) 348-5911.

Protecting Our Panthers Act 

Though firearms are still not allowed on campus in the vast majority of cases, FIU’s Student Government Association passed a bill during the spring semester in hopes of increasing student security, with provisions including the allowing pepper spray on campus for self-defense (which is currently prohibited per the student code of conduct). 

Protecting Our Panthers is a resolution presented by the Senate of the Student Government Association to the Board of Trustees in which they make recommendations towards university security.

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Student Government’s Protecting our Panthers Resolution | Courtesy FIU SGA

The bill came as a response to the most recent FIU Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

Other measures included are adding more blue lights (especially around BBC housing), more security cameras on all campuses, and promoting FIU Guardian.

The program can be accessed through the Rave Guardian app. Students can log in using their FIU credentials and access tools to connect users to FIU’s safety network. Finally, the bill mentions Step Up, which is a bystander intervention training program that teaches students how to be proactive in helping others.

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