On December 16, 2016 five LWVSC members attended the annual Seminole County Legislative Delegation Meeting, held in the Seminole County Commission board chambers in Sanford, Florida. Legislative Delegation members included Representatives Bob Cortez, District 30; Jason Broudeur, District 28; Scott Plakon, District 29; and Senator David Simmons, whose District covers Seminole and Orange counties.
Leaguers in attendance were, (L to R): Voter Services Chair, Pat Southward; member Pat Burkett; 1st Vice President, Sharon Lynn; Observer Corp. Chair, Joan Bradley; and President, Zelda Ladan, who presented the LWVSC Statement to the Legislative Delegation concerning gun safety, and in particular guns on campus, and secondarily the need for education reforms.
Following the presentation, Scott Plakon, who recently introduced HB6005, which would open the door to guns on campus, asked if we were aware of the bill he had submitted. Ms. Ladan acknowledged League was aware of the bill, stated our grave concern on this issue, and reiterated League does not believe such a law would make our campuses safer. She also said, that personally, she would not feel comfortable if she saw someone with a firearm in public. Representative Plakon replied that his bill is not about open-carry, but allows selective concealed-carry on college campuses, i.e.; seniors, graduate students and professors who have already obtained concealed carry permits would be permitted to carry their concealed firearm on campus. He then spoke about his belief that in other states having such laws, gun violence has not increased on campuses.
Having once again stated League’s opposition to expanded gun use and our concern regarding gun violence, Ms. Ladan closed by sharing her personal concern about individuals who are not security professionals having firearms on college campuses, referencing her own experience while going through the Orange County Sheriff Department’s gun range shadow-ops course, where law enforcement professionals hone their skills in making split-second determination of whether to shoot, or not to shoot, and for which she believes the public is untrained and ill-prepared to act.
Representative Palkon thanked League for attending, and asked that Ms. Ladan share his views with League.