Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Steube's Reasons for Reintroducing Bill Are Personal

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Steube's Reasons for Reintroducing Bill Are Personal

Article excerpt

State Rep. Greg Steube knew when he reintroduced his bill to lift the restrictions on carrying concealed weapons on college campuses, he would become a lightning rod for controversy.

My newspaper republished an editorial from a sister paper in Gainesville that said "the idea that arming college kids would make campuses safer defies logic."

Other editorials and columns have been less kind.

It's a decision that is controversial even among some gun owners.

Steube did it anyway.

His bill is simple: It strikes out the prohibition for carrying a concealed weapon at colleges and universities.

"If the bill passes, any person with a concealed carry permit would not be prohibited," Steube said.

By sponsoring this legislation, he's not carrying water for any gun-rights group. He is on his own.

What's left out of most of the media coverage are Steube's reasons for the bill -- personal reasons that are based on his military service.

There are very few lawmakers who know more about guns than the 36- year-old Sarasota Republican.

Not only does he know how they operate, he has seen what they can do.

After 9/11, Steube enlisted in the Army and was sent to infantry school at Fort Benning, where he was selected to attend officer candidate school.

"I became an infantry officer and have an incredible amount of training related to weapons systems," he told me last week.

Steube, an attorney, later became a captain assigned to the Army's Judge Advocate General Corps. He served on active duty from 2004 to 2008, and took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Bar and a set of jump wings.

The thought of someone in harm's way who lacks the means to defend themselves is anathema to his way of thinking.

"A lot of guys like me came out of the military and got a concealed carry permit. They feel more secure with a firearm," he said. …

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