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University Beat
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Outgoing FSU President Vows To Continue Fight Against 'Campus Carry'

John Thrasher at the podium
News Service of Florida
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Outgoing FSU President John Thrasher says he is opposed to the idea of allowing concealed weapons on Florida college campuses.

John Thrasher has long opposed the bill that would allow concealed weapons on Florida college and university campuses.

Delivering what likely will be his final address to Florida State University’s Faculty Senate, President John Thrasher this week pledged to continue his efforts to keep guns off campus.

Thrasher, an FSU alum who announced earlier this year that he intends to step down as president, has long opposed proposals that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry firearms on Florida college and university campuses.

The former Republican House speaker’s remarks came days after Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, refiled a “campus carry” proposal (HB 6001) for consideration during the 2021 legislative session, which begins in March.

Similar measures filed by gun-rights supporters have gone nowhere in past sessions, and Thrasher vowed Wednesday not to back down.

“I will continue to fight any campus carry legislation. We’ve all experienced enough heartache to know that more guns on campus do not make us safer,” said Thrasher, who, along with serving as House speaker is a former state senator and former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

During the six years Thrasher has been president, FSU experienced gun violence at the school’s library and suffered the loss of College of Medicine professor Nancy Van Vessem and student Maura Binkley, who were killed in a shooting two years ago at a Tallahassee yoga studio.

Thrasher’s final annual address to the Faculty Senate included highlights of FSU’s achievements under his tenure. He noted that the school was on the verge of a “new era,” after swiftly shifting to online classes as the coronavirus began to spread throughout the state during the spring semester.

“This pandemic, frankly, has reinforced many of the things I already knew about the people of this university: that we’re strong, that we’re tenacious, that we’re resilient,” he said.

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