Guns on college campuses were deemed unsafe by the University of Central Florida police chief in a press conference Monday.
“When you put firearms in the hands of inexperienced people, bad things happen,” UCF Police Chief Richard Beary said. “I truly believe after almost 40 years in this business, that law enforcement and a variety of assignments, that more guns, in it of themselves, does not make us safer,” Beary said.
Beary spoke at a press conference in the Nicholson School of Communication Monday as he discussed UCF’s position on guns on campus, along with the legislation affecting the university’s policies.
Although Beary said that himself and other university officials are standing firm in their views against having firearms on campus, opposition is still being felt. Marion Hammer, a representative of the National Rifle Association in Florida, is critical of Beary.
“The truth is your police chief doesn’t like law-abiding people having guns and that’s just too bad," Hammer said. "The Constitution guarantees both the right to bear arms and the right to self-defense."
Beary used the wording of the Second Amendment to help qualify his position on guns on campus. The Second Amendment reads as followed: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” From this, Beary put emphasis on the “well-regulated militia” to make his point.
“When they were drafting the Constitution, they had the foresight to say well-regulated, not just everybody have a gun,” Beary said.
One major issue Beary said he finds with about proposed the gun legislation is the lack of common sense. Beary said that the legislature trying to be passed in Tallahassee that would make the carrying of firearms in specific capacities legal could result in serious threats to universities and to the general public.
Republican Sen. Gregory Steube said that passing this legislature would help hinder crime.
“I think we should abolish gun free zones; they only help the criminal who is bringing the gun around,” Steube said.
Several students expressed concern about any legislation that could pass and potentially allow guns to be carried on campus.
“I would rather there not be guns on campus,” said Michael Nagy, a business management major. “I know a lot of people use the argument of gun ownership and self-defense, and that’s something that I would support for the home in case of a home invasion or something, but as far as being on campus we have a great UCF police force already here to protect us.”
As guns are currently not legal to carry on campus, Beary pointed out different ways students can still find safety. He said the two primary ways to do this are to have a highly trained police force and for students to keep their mental health under control.
Shannon Hampton and Alissa Lawson contributed to the reporting of this article.
Originally published Feb. 19