Truth-O-Meter sets sights on open carry, campus gun bills

Cori Sorensen, an elementary school teacher in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training in Utah in 2012, after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings. A progun group paid for 200 teachers’ training. (AP file photo)
Cori Sorensen, an elementary school teacher in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training in Utah in 2012, after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings. A progun group paid for 200 teachers’ training. (AP file photo)

Supporters of two bills that would expand gun rights in Florida have used laws in other states to argue for changing laws here.

Legislation allowing the open carry of handguns in the state and a proposed law permitting people to carry concealed handguns on college campuses have been discussed by committees for the Florida Legislature before the 2016 session. In each case, proponents pointed to legal guidelines elsewhere to try to legitimize their points of view.

PolitiFact Florida researched two statements and put them on the Truth-O-Meter:

Oregon’s Umpqua Community College "where the shooting occurred was a gun-free zone."

State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, debated whether the site of an Oct. 1, 2015, mass shooting allowed guns on campus.

"Oregon is a gun-free zone. The state of Oregon allows each university the ability to decide for themselves whether it's a gun-free zone or not," Steube said during a Nov. 19 committee hearing on his HB 4001, which would allow people with valid concealed carry permits on college and university campuses. "The community college where the shooting occurred was a gun-free zone. Don't believe me, look it up on your cell phones."

The school does have a policy generally prohibiting firearms on campus. However, Oregon law allows for students with valid concealed carry permits to bring guns on school grounds with some restrictions.

An Umpqua official confirmed that students with concealed carry licenses are allowed to bring them on campus in compliance with state law, just as Steube wants to see in Florida.

We rated Steube’s statement Mostly False.

"Forty-five states allow open carry of firearms."

Marion Hammer, the former president of the National Rifle Association, responded to criticism of SB 300 and its companion in the House, HB 163, which would allow the open carry of handguns for licensed concealed carry permit holders.

"Forty-five (45) states allow open carry of firearms," she wrote in a column posted on the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action website on Nov. 1, 2015. "Varying restrictions on open carry in some states does not alter the fact that 45 states allow open carry."

Groups both for and against stricter gun laws told us there are five states that have laws banning open carry for handguns: California, Florida, Illinois, New York and South Carolina.

It’s worth remembering, however, that the laws in some open-carry states are not as permissive as Hammer makes it seem. Several states have restrictions on the open carry of certain types of firearms, and in some places the rules are stricter than others.

We rated Hammer’s statement Mostly True.