The University of North Florida was sued by one of its students Monday, along with a Second Amendment group called Florida Carry, for banning guns from being stored in cars parked on the UNF campus.
“No public college or university has any right to prevent students from having a firearm in their car as long as the firearm is lawfully possessed under state law,” according to a statement released by Florida Carry. “Any public college or university which attempts to restrict students’ rights on this issue is subject to being sued under Florida Firearms Preemption law which was amended this year to make the 24 year old statute easier to enforce by organizations like Florida Carry.”
According to Florida Carry, the suit was filed on behalf of full-time UNF student Alexandria Lainez, “a single mother who has received extensive training in firearms and self-defense to be prepared to protect herself and her young child should that horrible need arise.”
The organization says Lainez worries “that she has to choose between her family’s safety and her education on a daily basis” when attending UNF.
The lawsuit suggests UNF is claiming it has the right to ban guns from being stored in vehicles in UNF parking lots just like a high school in a Florida public school district could. The lawsuit, however, says UNF falls outside that exemption because it is a state university — and not a local school district.
UNF SAYS UCF, OTHER FLORIDA UNIVERSITIES IMPOSE SAME PARKING LOT BAN
UNF released a statement to KnightNews.com Tuesday explaining how virtually every public university in Florida shares UNF’s view that guns stored in cars can be prohibited.
”UNF is always first and foremost concerned about the safety of our students,” the UNF statement read. “Eight other public universities in Florida have interpreted the law to read that universities can adopt policies that prohibit students from keeping weapons locked in the trunks of their cars. We do not allow students to bring weapons on campus and we do not allow students to keep weapons locked in the trunks of their cars. We believe that we are following the law and we believe this is the best policy for a safe campus.”
KnightNews.com asked the University of Central Florida in Orlando about the lawsuit filed against UNF to get a clear answer on whether UCF allows its students to properly store guns in their cars on campus.
We’ll let you know when we hear back, however, KnightNews.com could not find any exception in UCF’s policy to allow guns to be locked in cars in the manner Florida Carry says is required. That policy, found in the UCF Golden Rule, which students are required to follow, specifically states: “Possession, storage or use of firearms, explosives, ammunition, other weapons or dangerous articles or substances including, but not limited to, tasers, switchblade knives, and nonlethal weapons such as air soft guns on University-owned or -affiliated property or at University-sponsored/related activities is prohibited.”
According to UNF, UCF is among the Florida universities that prohibit students from having guns locked in their trunks. UNF says the other institutions imposing the same ban include: FSU, UF, USF, UWF, FAU, FGCU and NCF.
In the past, some UCF students have pushed for changes in the law to allow students with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on campus. Some UCF students have staged “empty holster” protests on the issue in the past.
Check back to KnightNews.com for more information on this story as it breaks.