JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled a local university overstepped its bounds when it forbade students from storing weapons in their vehicles on campus.
University of North Florida student Alexandra Lainez sued for the right to bring her weapon on campus for safety reasons.
"UNF was telling her we don't care about your safety, your safety to and from campus is your problem, you can't have a gun even though the legislature said you can,” said Eric Friday, lead counsel for Florida Carry, which was also a plaintiff in the original lawsuit.
The 1st DCA overturned a Duval County court ruling that upheld the ban. Judges rejected the university's argument that it should be treated as a school district and therefore be allowed to ban weapons on campus - even if they are secured in cars.
“While school districts may adopt a waiver disallowing securely encased firearms in vehicles parked on campuses under their authority, neither UNF nor the UNF Board of Trustees qualifies as a school district,” wrote Judge Clayton Roberts.
The university issued a statement, which reads: “We are reviewing the opinion, and we will be discussing possible options with our attorneys."
Some students on campus felt the university should have the right to restrict weapons on campus.
“I feel that's every student’s right, every American's right to carry their own weapon if they really want to,” said Christian Ramos, a UNF student. “But here on campus, I don't think there's really a need for it."
“I feel that the university was not necessarily trying to infringe on her rights as a student or a citizen of the United States, but more so they were considering the other 16 something thousand others that go to this school,” said Starranzo Caudio, a UNF student.
The suit was first filed in October 2011. The 1st DCA first heard arguments earlier this year.
The opinion can be found here.