The Everytown for Gun Safety organization is expanding its campaign to block legislation that would allow lawful concealed carry on Florida’s public college and university campuses.
The move comes in the form of a television ad, titled “Backpacks, Not Bullets,” that will air across the Sunshine State March 5-13.
Paid for by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group, the 30 second spot features remarks by National Rifle Association Executive Director Wayne LaPierre made at the 1999 NRA convention, in which he said, “We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America’s schools, period.”
Used in conjunction with a rally scheduled for March 9 at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, the gun control group hopes it will sway lawmakers and prevent the passage of legislation to strike the so-called gun free zones located on college campuses across the state.
“Our kids’ teachers enter the esteemed profession of education to teach, not to become sharpshooters. Florida lawmakers should do their jobs, too – pass laws to keep Floridians safe from gun violence instead doing the bidding of the gun lobby,” said Chryl Anderson, with the Florida Chapter of Moms Demand Action, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, in a statement emailed to Guns.com.
“Allowing guns into our schools and forcing them onto our college campuses endangers faculty, students and law enforcement – backpacks and bullets just don’t mix,” Anderson said.
The bill that is drawing fire, SB 176, aims to scrap language in Florida’s laws that deem public colleges and universities restricted areas for those who are lawfully carrying a concealed handgun. During the recent incident at FSU, one of the three victims shot by a gunman was a concealed carry permit supporter who couldn’t legally carry his gun on campus.
Similar bills have twice before been brought into the state legislature but never made it out of committee. Ironically, one of the lawmakers blamed for blocking a 2011 measure, then-Sen. John Thrasher, is the current FSU president.
Gun rights advocates in the state were taken aback by the Bloomberg group’s aggressive new move.
“It’s appalling that New York City billionaire Bloomberg is spending his billions in Florida in an attempt to bully lawmakers into making women and children less safe,” Marion Hammer, president of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and past president of the National Rifle Association, told Guns.com.
“Threats to personal safety don’t disappear once you step on a campus. Denying women their constitutional right to self-protection empowers criminals and leaves women vulnerable to criminal attack,” Hammer said. “The Bloomberg anti-gun agenda makes people less safe, and the NRA won’t be bullied around by billionaire Bloomberg and his distortions.”
Florida is not the only state seeing an influx in Everytown money against campus carry measures.
In Nevada, Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore on Thursday testified in support of her guns on campus measure, citing a recent campaign against her as being driven by “anti-gun nuts from New York City.”