Frustrated with the lack response from Senator Diaz de la Portilla, Florida State University rape survivor and Students for Concealed Carry member pens op-ed asking for 15 minutes to plead her case.
In her letter published on TheHill.com, Shayna Lopez-Rivas describes the horror she experienced at the hands of her attacker. She asserts that, despite her use of pepper spray during a previous attack and her training in self-defense, situational awareness and disarmament, there are times when a firearm is the only tool that will level the playing field against an attacker. Currently Florida law prevents her from protecting herself and other students who find themselves in those situations.
“0.1 percent of rapes were completed when women used a firearm as compared to a 34 percent completion rate when women used any other form of self-defense,” Lopez-Rivas asserts. “Stats are easy to discuss, but when it comes to talking about being raped, my throat gets dry and my hands freeze up. It’s a lot harder to write about nightmares than it is to write about numbers.”
Lopez-Rivas first reached out to Senator Diaz de la Portilla in October of 2015 about “Campus Carry” House Bill 4001 and its companion, Senate Bill 68. Both bills were introduced on August 3, 2015, HB 4001 in the House by Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, and SB 68 in the Senate by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker. One has sailed through, while the other has stalled.
HB 4001 passed overwhelmingly on February 3, 2016. However the Senate version, SB 68 has been sitting in the Judiciary Committee since October 21, 2015. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator de la Portilla has the sole authority to determine if a bill will be heard for a vote or left to die.
And left for dead is exactly what Lopez-Rivas, along with Bekah Hargrove, Director, Florida Students for Concealed Carry, claim he is doing to college students’ right to self-defense.
In a letter posted on the Florida Students for Concealed Carry Facebook page, Hargrove calls for the dismissal of Senator de la Portilla as Chair of the Judicial Committee due to his inaction on the Senate’s “Campus Carry” bill.
“Senator Diaz de la Portilla has taken it upon himself to unilaterally decide the future of a bipartisan bill that the vast majority of legislative members support,” wrote Hargrove. “If this type of behavior is permitted to continue, the legislative system will be fundamentally changed forever. Senator Diaz de la Portilla represents exactly what is wrong in politics and the people must not let him continue to act as judge, jury, and executioner.”
Hargrove plans to make the same plea at the LSP State Government Seminar on Tuesday February 9, 2016. She will be speaking alongside Katy Burnett of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida and Florida State University Police Chief David Perry. The seminar will start at 9 am in the Cabinet Room in the lower level of the Capitol Building.