Broward News

Students Are Now Free to Bring Guns to University Campuses, Appeals Court Rules

The First District Court of Appeal has ruled that Florida universities cannot regulate guns on their respective campuses.

The Florida appeals court handed down the ruling on Tuesday, siding with the University of North Florida and gun rights groups, that universities can't keep their students from storing guns in their cars on campus.

See also: Rep. Dennis Baxley Favors Ending Ban on Guns in Schools

According to Florida law, students are not allowed to walk around their campus brandishing a pistol. But the loophole here seems to be that there's nothing in the law that prevents a student from keeping a gun in their car in a university parking lot.

So, the appeals court ruled that universities can't keep a student from doing just that.

Judge Philip Padovano did not agree with the ruling, saying that voters approved an amendment giving universities power to regulate things such as a kid walking around with a gun.

"These opinions pursue differing legal theories but they all arrive at the same conclusion: that a state university is powerless to prohibit students from bringing firearms to school," Padovano wrote. "This remarkable conclusion is not supported in the law, and with due respect for my colleagues, I believe that it defies common sense."

Basically, the court says that, while universities can regulate other lawful things on their campuses and parking lots, they overstep themselves if they try to regulate students packing heat.

Judge Clay Roberts, one of 15 judges who ruled on the case, said the universities restricting certain activities is far different from not allowing them to bring guns.

"Restricting recreational activities is a far cry from restricting a fundamental, constitutional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense," Roberts wrote.

So, basically, all Florida universities are free to tell their students they cannot smoke a cigarette or have a beer on campus. But bringing a loaded firearm is totally different, because cold dead hands and all that.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph