Appeals court hears campus gun law arguments

Attorney suing UNF for 'no gun policy'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eric Friday, lead counsel for the gun rights group Florida Carry, says Florida law gives college students the right to keep guns "securely encased" in their cars on campus.

"Guns in the hands of good people save lives. Guns prevent crime," Friday said.

He said school districts can waive the rule, but the University of North Florida is not a school district. At an appeals court hearing at Florida Coastal School of Law on Tuesday morning, Friday said UNF admitted it's not a district, but said the no guns on campus rule is to protect the safety of its students.

Because he says the university is not complying, Friday has filed suit against UNF and its president, John Delaney.

"We're tired of seeing students who are disarmed just because they happen to go to a school that has an anti-gun policy," Friday said. "We're tried of seeing those students put at risk as they go to and from their home or to and from their jobs."

A UNF spokeswoman said the college is first and foremost concerned about the safety of its students. The spokeswoman released this statement:

"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."

UNF students line up on both sides of the case.

"I can see that it's important because you want to protect yourself, especially with everything that's been happening with shootings," UNF senior Paige Piscitello said. "On the other hand, I can see why you shouldn't be able to because that'll just make it easier access and cause more crime."

But Friday says guns in the right hands stop crime.

"Mass shootings happen where guns are not legally allowed to be," he said. "Mass shootings don't happen in areas where guns are allowed. Criminals don't obey the law. That's why we call them criminals."