College students at Pasco–Hernando State College and their parents are among those in the New Port Richey, Fla., area wondering how a new court ruling allowing guns on college campuses will impact them.
Administrators and law enforcement officials at Pasco–Hernando are among those statewide scrambling to comply after a Florida court ruled that adult students can keep guns in parked vehicles on college campuses because no law prohibits it.
An appellate court in December 2013 struck down a University of North Florida policy that banned the storage of weapons in vehicles. That ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Florida Carry Inc., a gun rights group that had sued on behalf of a single mother who commuted to school at the University of North Florida and wanted to keep a weapon for self-defense.
Universities across the state have hurriedly put together new policies to comply with the court ruling, but officials and police aren’t enthusiastic about the changes.
More Changes to College Gun Laws Coming?
Florida Carry has since set its sights on dorm rooms and student apartments, picking the University of Florida as a test to argue that universities should not limit gun possession to locked vehicles. Most universities are now allowing students, employees and visitors on campus – the court ruling did not limit gun possession to students – to keep guns if they are locked in cars. Guns are still not allowed in university buildings, including public cafeterias, classrooms or dormitories. At Florida Atlantic University, for example, new policy hurried changes allow guns in vehicles even though the policy change is yet to be officially approved by university trustees.
Chief David Perry of the FSU police is among those reluctantly complying, pointing out that neither he nor his officers think guns should be allowed anywhere on a college campus. “It’s just not the right environment for those items,” said Perry, president-elect of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. “It presents an opportunity for those weapons to be used — and also stolen.”
Meanwhile, Florida Carry officials argue that even the changes made so far don’t go far enough toward allowing guns. The group argues that students and employees, and members of their families, should be allowed to keep guns in university housing to protect themselves.
With additional lawsuits pending, students and parents alike haven’t heard the final word on gun possession for Florida’s public universities – in cars or in buildings.
Ordway, Denis-Marie, Orlando Sentinel: Florida Universities Now Allow Guns on Campus, Jan 14,2014 http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-ucf-guns-college-campus-20140114,0,2195008.story
More Information on Gun Laws and Policies for College Students From Our Legal Experts
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