Florida Carry sues UF for banning guns on campus

University of Florida says it believes 'we are in full compliance with that law'

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A Florida gun rights group on Friday sued the University of Florida, seeking a permanent injunction on the school's prohibition of firearms and weapons on all university property.

Florida Carry Inc. says they are going to court "to protect the rights of students, faculty, and the public from the university's illegal and unconstitutional regulations."

The group says the Florida Legislature issued state-wide licenses to carry for self-defense in 1987. In December, Florida Carry won a similar case challenging a similar ban by the University of North Florida.

"University of Florida decided not to repeal their policies and regulations. We attempted to contact them and discuss it with them," said Florida Carry's lead counsel, Eric Friday. "Their general counsel wasn't interested in having a discussion with us about what needed to be fixed."

On Monday, the University of South Florida said it will allow guns to be kept in cars on campus under a policy change prompted by the appeals court ruling. The Tampa school previously prohibited guns anywhere on its property. Guns still cannot be carried onto the campus under state law.

"Students who do follow, who are responsible with guns and just keep their guns in their vehicle, will be better equipped to handle those who aren't responsible with fire arms, who would bring firearms directly onto campus," said UNF student, Joshua Harris.

Florida State University changed its gun policy following the appeals court ruling.

Florida Carry says that UF simply added an "Intent" footnote to its gun policy, which the group claims fails to comply with the court's ruling.

"I don't think anybody's really stupid enough to use a gun on somebody over a college argument," said UNF student Zach Williams.

Florida Carry says Executive Director Sean Caranna reached out to UF President Bernie Machen in an attempt to avert the need for legal action, but the call was returned by the university's General Counsel, who "refused to take our concerns about UF's illegal policies and regulations seriously and was dismissive of our plea that they work with us to craft a legal set of regulations. Florida Carry was left with no choice but to file this case."

Late Friday, UF spokeswoman issued a statement:

"We are completely surprised by this press release based on the conversation our General Counsel had with Florida Carry on Wednesday. They didn't object to the steps we have taken to comply with the court's decision, and they never raised the issue of guns in the home, which was not the subject of the court's decision.

We need to be clear that the University of Florida is not challenging the 1st DCA decision, and we believe we are in full compliance with that law requiring universities to allow individuals 18 years or older to store their guns securely in their cars on campus.

We have not been served with the lawsuit nor have we been contacted by Florida Carry regarding it and therefore cannot comment further."

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