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Leon Sheriff Candidates Weigh In On Open Carry, Campus Carry Gun Debate

Open Carry is one stop away from the Florida House floor.
Keith LaFaille via Flickr

Proposals to allow the open carry of firearms and possession of guns on public university campuses failed in the Florida legislature, but supporters say they'll be back. Now Leon sheriff's candidates are weighing on on whether open carry and campus carry should be laws.

Republican candidate Charlie Strickland says so-called “gun free” zones, pose a threat. And he'd rather see a gun, if it's there.

“Gun free zones are an attractant to violent crime. I’m not asking you to be able to carry guns in a bar, that’s not responsible. But carrying guns to class to protect yourself? I know college professors that do it even though they’re not supposed to.”

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Walt McNeil says he’s split on the issues.

"Open carry seems to be something I need to look at more. I can move in that direction if I can get some understanding on how it impacts deputies and officers who respond to situations.’"

Sheriff's candidates spoke on WFSU's Perspectives show Wednesday.

Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood is opposed to both campus carry and open carry. He says the state should monitor states like Texas to see how campus carry unfolds. But on open carry, he says, "it could create…a visual threat that requires the attention of that sheriffs deputy or police officer in its entirely until its dispels that could divert them from  what the real problem is."

Sheriff's candidate Tommy Mills did not attend the forum.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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