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FL Universities Plan for Attacks

Aaron Yost
Roseburg News-Review via AP
A patient is wheeled into the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore., following a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, October 1.

With recent shootings on college campuses in Oregon and Arizona, Tallahassee Community Collegepresident Jim Murdaugh has received plenty of questions from staff and students about Florida's plans to deal with such incidents. The main thing he has stressed to them is that everything has been well planned.

"I would say Florida has been progressive in these areas," Murdaugh said. "We have had a heightened sense of awareness the past couple weeks but we have always been prevention-oriented."

Florida has had active shooter situations on campuses the past two years. There was one in January 2013 at the University of Central Florida and another one at Florida State last November. In both cases the gunman died. Also in both cases, students lauded university and local law enforcement departments for their quick response, which prevented more injuries and a widespread loss of life.

TheState University System has also held two conferences the past couple years to address further issues.

"We have a memorandum of understanding and know exactly who is in charge and who is going to respond," said Murdaugh, who is a former law enforcement officer and official. "A student that comes to college preoccupied with safety is not in the best position to learn. We take a lot of time to talk through issues and head those off."

A bill has been introduced in the Florida Legislature to allow those with conceal carry permits to carry guns on campuses. Murdaugh spoke before House and Senate criminal justice subcommittees in September against it but the measure passed through both.

With the recent events, Murdaugh thinks both sides will dig in deeper.

"It is such an emotional issue but there is no evidence to make either sides' argument. You can't argue about what didn't happen. It will cause an ideological divide to be strengthened," he said.

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