Colleges can’t ban guns, rules Florida court in major 2nd Amendment victory

The Florida appeals court ruling that the University of North Florida was violating state law when it prohibited a woman from storing a gun in her vehicle while she attended class will spill over to cities and counties statewide, an attorney said Wednesday.

And it’s one of many nationwide where anti-gun activists are trying to do at the local level what they can’t do in the statehouse – restrict Second Amendment rights.


From University of North Florida student Alexandria Lainez’s Facebook page.

“This is a growing movement in a number of cases,” said Jacksonville attorney Eric Friday, who represents Florida Carry Inc. and UNF student Alexandria Lainez in the court fight.

Friday, who called the Lainez decision the biggest of its kind in Florida in 20 years, said the case “reaffirmed that the power to regulate firearms rests solely with the Legislature and not anywhere else.”

Florida Carry Inc. and  Alexandria Lainez vs. the University of North Florida centered around Lainez’s ability to store a gun in her vehicle while attending classes at UNF so she would have available for self-defense while traveling to and from campus.

Lainez is a young mother, Friday said, “and she takes seriously her responsibility to protect herself and her child.”

Lainez, who’s 24 and has had a concealed weapons permit for three years, said she takes firearms safety and training pretty seriously, too. A Jacksonville resident with a half-hour one-way commute to school, she said she’s working to get students at other schools interested in gun training, too.

“I think it’s pretty important to be able to protect myself and my son, especially with that long commute to and from school.”

And making that commute armed means storing the gun on UNF property.

UNF regulations prohibit weapons on campus. According to the student handbook printed in 2011 when the case was filed, expressly threatened that violators could be arrested.

“No college or university has the authority” to make such a regulation, Friday said.

Lainez, a member of Florida Carry, sued UNF to change the regulation, but lost at trial to UNF’s argument that it could ban weapons because state law allowed school districts to do so. UNF argued that since it’s a school, it should be considered like a public school district.

In Tuesday’s decision, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled otherwise.

“From the beginning, the argument was an absurdity in my mind,” Friday said.

But the broader issue, Friday said, involved the powers of local governments – such as counties and cities – to violate gun rights through control ordinances that in effect in one part of the state but not another, putting gun owners at risk of arrest depending on the jurisdiction.

It’s a gun rights battle being fought in other states – where officials in places like libraries and bus companies try to make petty authority grounds for violating constitutional rights.

In Michigan in November, the state Supreme Court  refused to hear an appeal by a library district in Lansing that claimed it had a right to ban guns in a battle with Michigan Open Carry Inc. National Review’s headline called it a “victory for open carry advocates.”

In Wisconsin, the gun rights group Wisconsin Carry is suing the Madison Metro Transit Authority for trying to ban guns on city buses. That would make for stricter gun law than the ones passed by the state Legislature – which meets in Madison.

In Florida, a state law in 1987 prohibited local governments from passing local gun control ordinances stricter than those passed in Tallahassee, but included no way of enforcing it, Friday said.

That led to local governments – particularly in South Florida – “thumbing their noses at the Legislature,” Friday said.

In 2011, the Legislature passed another law containing a series of threatening local jurisdictions or agencies with fines against the agency heads, removal from office for elected officials and allowing for personal damages up to $100,000 for violations, Friday sad.

When that law passed, most local governments changed their laws to comply before it came into effect Oct 1, Friday said. UNF and some other agencies didn’t.

In an emailed statement Wednesday, UNF Associate Director for Public Relations Joanna Norris wrote that the university is still reviewing its options on whether to appeal the case. Until it makes that decision, she wrote, the university’s policy prohibiting weapons on campus will remain in effect.

Friday said that means the university intends to continue breaking the law.

“In other words, despite the express, well-reasoned opinion of this court, they intend to continue violating students’ rights until they have to comply,” he said.

Why this kind of obstinacy by officials at the local level when they can’t get their anti-Second Amendment way in state capitals?

“In some cases, it’s just a personal belief, or bias against firearms or the right of self-defense,” Friday said. “People in power don’t like it when their power is challenged.”

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Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].


284 thoughts on “Colleges can’t ban guns, rules Florida court in major 2nd Amendment victory

  1. David A. Tiangco says:

    Just another example of stupid government employees who think they can strip you of your constitutional rights when you are on public property.

  2. Arden Hale says:

    The students need to press charges and have them arrested.

  3. rawiron1 says:

    Anti-gun commies lose another one. lol

  4. Harold Van Horn says:

    So if UNF continues to ignore the court decision then we needto start throwing the university officials into jail for contempt of court. We cannot survive as a society with more than one set of rules

    1. Rich7553 says:

      Florida Carry is closely watching the implementation of the court decision, and will take action when appropriate.

  5. Colby Butler says:

    Yes keep guns in the hands of regularly using and trained individuals who pass a psych eval. the more trained people with guns the less likely a situation will turn bad. people are chosen as victims based on ease of opportunity. mostly women and children fall into this category.

    1. Justin Case says:

      Your comment that someone must pass a psych eval before being able to possess and carry a gun is unconstitutional and would require citizens to give up their natural rights. for that I disagree with you.

      1. Colby Butler says:

        And because there aren’t any psych evals people are able to openly purchase firearms. so what if a person has had no prior situations. that does not mean they are mentally stable. this also applies to military and law enforcement returning to civilian life. most of them won’t pass these because of situations they’ve seen. probably why this will never get put in place and situations like this will continue hurting the law abiding citizens.

        1. jmark80 says:

          So you are arguing that most military veterans returning from combat should be subjected to Unconstitutional psychological evaluations to determine if they should be permitted to exercise the Constitutional rights that they have just spent years defending?

          And you see nothing wrong with this?

          1. Colby Butler says:

            Yes and no. yes it may be unconstitutional but there can’t be any exceptions for that to work. with the numbers of reported PSD cases, one should be more understanding. most police agencies submit candidates to a psychological exam when they are in training for the force. some states CCW/CCL mandations require a verbal testament this is also an interview/eval that most people don’t know they are going through. if the general public has to go through it then so should others.
            along with that most of my prior military friends openly admitted to me they can no longer handle a firearm due to their military history. many are fine. I tend to wonder about the state of mind of othersflash backs are terrible.

          2. jmark80 says:

            It is interesting that you are ok with Constitutional infringement for veterans, when no one else in the US is forced to submit to psychological testing in order to exercise their rights. As a combat vet, I am not sure why your friends are telling you this, but it is besides the point regardless. Your friends anecdotes aside, their sentiments of no longer being able to “handle” a firearm are not shared by the majority of veterans. I would actually be floored to hear ANY veterans make this statement, let alone your intimation that “most” of them say this.

            The general public absolutely does not have to go through psychological testing to aquire a CCW, and in fact, the majority of states are now shall issue.

            Servicemen also must complete evaluation prior to joining the armed services, however, no one is required to do this for a Constitutional right.

            I wonder if you also think that people should pass an arbitrary exam to utilize their First, 5th or 6th Amendments?

          3. Colby Butler says:

            your blindfold off. How many times must I say this. I am not pin pointing
            military, I am saying for the system to work all people should be subject to
            evals and that NO ONE is exception, including veterans.

            not saying that all veterans are as some of my friend vets are. I for one can’t
            understand how a military MP would come back to civilian life and not want to
            have a personal protection hand gun either, but to each his own.

            I stickling
            stating if the law would work in favor of people who are willing to protect
            others and not try to harm others things would be more favorable. however the
            law makers don’t see it that way, so implement a device into their system which
            makes them less in doubt of the situation.

            who believes we should not have an eval for circumstances like this is not part
            of a solution. Of course can this tests be rigged, sure, can we past them by
            falsification, sure. Yet some people still believe lie detectors work. Some of
            the time they do.

            I go to the range often. I just happen to not be there on the day so random person came in and rented a handgun, shot a few rounds into the targets, then turned the gun on the others in the range. What was their psyche saying? No one will know because the shop owners shot him in self defense.
            I work with many prior military veterans in my job about 90%. Every person is different.

          4. jmark80 says:

            Thank you for clarifying your position. I can at least understand where you are coming from, even if I disagree.

            While I do believe that your motivations are pure, I could never support a set of qualifiers for Constitutional Rights. The BOR was written to protect our INHERENT rights, not to afford us those rights. Just as I would stand against an evaluation process before using First Amendment protections, or my 5th and 6th. Or how about the 14th?

            I took an oath to defend the Constitution, and I stand by that oath. Again, I do not think you are motivated by an agenda, as you seem to genuinely care, but I would still fight you to the fullest of my ability, as your intentions are to destroy Constitutional protection.

          5. Michael says:

            And there is this: ” In all, 349 service members took their own lives in 2012, while a lesser number, 295, died in combat”
            Don’t you want them to be as safe as possible and get the help they need?

          6. jmark80 says:

            Of course. I just don’t think that violating the supreme law of the land is the way to go about it.

        2. Justin Case says:

          Precrime is a bad thing and against everything that America was founded on. The government and regulations are not the solution to our problems, they are our problems. The last thing I want, is to give our government more power over the people. The 2nd Amendment of the constitution recognizes our natural right to own guns because the gun is the great equalizer and the last line of defense to keep our government in line and to protect our selves for evil. If you want to make America more “safe” then everyone should have a gun. Notice how not so many bad guys go into a police station or a gun store to attack people.

        3. Rich7553 says:

          The right to keep and bear arms precludes preconditions. In first amendment context, this is known as prior restraint, and is unconstitutional.

  6. Liberalism is Nonsense says:

    Without centralized control, it is impossible to force people to chase illusions such as “fair” income distribution and “social justice”.

    1. seazen says:

      Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Mandela = didn’t see much forcing with these men as they chased those silly illusions.

  7. RummRunner says:

    “Gun Free” = “Criminal Friendly” A fun fact for liberals.

  8. Gus Mueller says:

    I would like to make the sexy time with her!

  9. Ed Pell says:

    The college property is the private property of the board of trustees. Owners of private property can forbid people from coming on their property with guns. This ruling has more to do with the use of the public roads. Sorry. I am all for constitutional carry but also for private property rights.

    1. Mary Brown says:

      Chances are the school is funded by the state making it public property. Like the U of MN.

    2. Rich7553 says:

      On the contrary Ed, public colleges/universities such as UNF are public property, owned by the taxpayers.

  10. Mary Brown says:

    It isn’t gun control, it is people control by liberal freaks who thing they have the right to run every last part of your life.

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