Menu
VIEW OUR STORY

“Backpacks, Not Bullets”: Coalition Of Moms, Gun Violence Survivors, Law Enforcement, Educators, And Students Rally Against Guns-In-Schools Bills At State Capitol

Coalition Drops Off 12,000 Postcards to Legislators with the Message: “Backpacks and Bullets Don’t Mix”

Tallahassee, FL – Everytown for Gun Safety and the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety joined with a coalition of gun violence survivors, law enforcement, educators, students, and the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus to rally against six guns-in-schools bills in the State Legislature. The coalition dropped off 12,000 postcards to legislators signed by Floridians with the simple message “backpacks and bullets don’t mix.”

“Less than a year ago, my son Christopher was shot and killed. He was a college student at U.C. Santa Barbara with his entire life ahead of him” said Richard Martinez, father of 20-year-old Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez who was killed in the tragedy near the campus of UC Santa Barbara last May. “Since that fateful day last May, I have been determined to speak up for the people who no longer can. Do not make it any easier for troubled students to make deadly mistakes. Do not allow guns in K-12 schools or force colleges to allow them on campuses.”

“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, a volunteer with the Florida Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Allowing guns in our schools and forcing colleges to allow guns on their campuses endangers faculty, students and law enforcement – backpacks and bullets just don’t mix.”

“Those of us charged with keeping campus communities safe know that allowing concealed handguns on campus won’t make students safer, but it will make our jobs harder,” said Terence Calloway, Florida A&M University Chief of Police. “The only people on campus who should be armed are trained law enforcement officials, like the professionals who responded to the shooting at Florida State in just minutes.”

Everytown and Florida Moms Demand Action released a new television advertisement this week calling on Floridians to ask their legislators to reject the six guns-in-schools bills. The ad, which can be viewed here, is airing throughout Florida between March 5 and 13.

Moms recently spoke out against S.B. 176, legislation that would force public colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns on campus, before the bill was approved 3-2 in the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Further Information on Guns and Florida Schools


  • The six bills the gun lobby is pushing would allow guns in K-12 schools and force public colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns on their campuses. They are:

    • HB 4005: Would force public colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns on campus.
    • SB 176: Would force public colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns on campus.
    • HB 19: Would let some concealed weapons licensees carry concealed guns on school property, including K-12 schools.
    • SB 180: Would let some concealed weapons licensees carry concealed guns on school property, including K-12 schools.
    • HB 251: Would change Florida law to decriminalize carrying a firearm, either concealed or openly, in a school safety zone, as long as the person surrenders the firearm at the earliest opportunity.
    • SB 754: Would change Florida law to decriminalize carrying a firearm, either concealed or openly, in a school safety zone, as long as the person surrenders the firearm at the earliest opportunity.
    • Florida’s State University System, which includes 12 universities, their police chiefs, and the Board of Governors, opposes guns-on-campus legislation, saying it could “create new challenges in our ability to provide a safe and secure learning environment.”
    • Florida State President John Thrasher and FSU Police Chief David Perry strongly oppose the legislation in the wake of FSU’s shooting on campus in November. Thrasher has said “When it comes to guns on campus, the consequences far outweigh the positives.”
      The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators opposes the legislation.