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Court Will Hear Argument That Guns Should Be Allowed at UF Dorms as They Are At Home

| July 7, 2015

buckman hall uf

Gun-free zone, for now: the area outside Buckman Hall, one of the University of Florida’s many residence halls, where Florida Carry Inc., the gun-rights advocate, wants guns permitted.

After a high-profile legislative debate this spring about concealed weapons on college campuses, a state appeals court is poised to hear arguments in a dispute about whether guns should be allowed in residence halls and other housing at the University of Florida.

The 1st District Court of Appeal next Tuesday is scheduled to take up a case filed by the group Florida Carry Inc., which says people have a legal right to possess firearms in their homes, including in university housing. An Alachua County circuit judge last year sided with the University of Florida in rejecting the group’s arguments in the case.

In court briefs, Florida Carry pointed to a state law that seeks to ensure people can have firearms in their homes and to the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment. It said the state law about guns in homes supersedes another law that generally bars guns at schools and colleges.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has been more than clear that laws which prohibit the best means to exercise the right of self-defense in the home, are prohibited under the Constitution of the United States,” Florid Carry attorneys Eric Friday and Lesley McKinney wrote in a brief filed in January. “Florida’s Constitution cannot be interpreted to mean any less.”

But the University of Florida disputes that the federal or state constitutions guarantee the right to have firearms in university housing. Also, in a brief filed in March, the university pointed to other places that it said lawmakers have designated as “firearms-free zones,” including courthouses, polling places and bars.

“The Florida Legislature has struck a balance between preserving the right to bear arms for self-defense and protecting the safety and peace of mind of Florida citizens,” the university’s attorney, Barry Richard, wrote in the March brief. “In service of the latter interest, Florida law has long designated certain sensitive areas, including school and university campuses, as largely gun-free zones.”

Florida Carry, which posted briefs and other documents from the case on its website, filed the lawsuit in January 2014, shortly after winning another gun-rights case involving the University of North Florida. In that case, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that universities cannot bar students from storing guns in their cars while on campus.

That ruling rippled through the university system. In the case before the appeals court next week, Florida Carry also contends that the University of Florida did not properly carry out the ruling about guns in cars — a contention that Alachua County Circuit Judge Toby S. Monaco also rejected last year.

The appeals-court arguments come after a closely watched legislative debate this spring about whether people with concealed-weapons licenses should be allowed to carry guns on college and university campuses. The proposal stalled in a Senate committee, but the National Rifle Association has already signaled the issue will come back during the 2016 legislative session.

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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7 Responses for “Court Will Hear Argument That Guns Should Be Allowed at UF Dorms as They Are At Home”

  1. Sherry E says:

    This is ridiculous! Dorms are NOT homes. . . just as movie theaters are NOT living rooms. Allowing college kids who are often highly/hormone charged and partying/drinking to have guns on campus is just asking for even more trouble! More and more guns does NOT equal less shootings!

  2. Groot says:

    Guns in dorm room? No. Guns should not be allowed on campus.

  3. Yellowstone says:

    One has to ask themselves, “What in the world does a student, at the University of Florida, need a firearm?”
    What are we asking for, an armed shootout between fraternities? A higher suicide rate among students? Placing intimated Professors in harm’s way – to perhaps increase otherwise failing grades?
    G’ville is supposed to be a haven for higher learning. Perhaps with a higher intelligent than those in Tally.
    These are our future leaders we are talking about here. Our hope of the future. Let’s ask the students and faculty what the need is for firearms . . . if there is one.

  4. Knightwatch says:

    FloriDUH has just gone crazier than normal. This is beyond insane. Beer and guns in a testosterone-driven population of common sense-deficient 18-22 year olds.

    Gun violence already surpasses all other causes of death in people under 25 years old. When will this madness stop? The only way is to put moderats or progressives into the legislature and governor’s office. Remember this when you vote.

  5. Lancer says:

    At what point, in our country, does an individual not have a right to defend themselves??? Geez, leftists, just because you CAN own a firearm, doesn’t mean you MUST own a firearm.

    The one growing trend, in every mass attack we’ve seen? Soft Targets. Places that are known to be easy and accessible with little or no security. Churches, Schools, Movie Theaters, etc.

    Ask every leftists, antigunner, if they would prefer police be unarmed in fighting crime. Most say “no”. Then, why would individual citizens who face armed criminals be unarmed? It’s innocent civilians that criminals, predominantly, attack.

    Want to know a “secret”??? People on college campuses all over the country are carrying firearms for their personal security and have been for DECADES. You just don’t know it.

    • Knightwatch says:

      Lancer, If you had the will and the intelligence, you would do sufficient research to know that study after study shows that guns do not make people safe, they make them injured and dead, period! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps track of the number of gun-related deaths in each state. Fatalities include homicides, suicides, and accidents. According to CDC data, here are the top ten states in the U.S. for gun deaths. Note they are all “Red” states with the most lenient gun laws.
      10. Tennessee
      9. New Mexico
      8. Oklahoma
      7. Wyoming
      6. Arkansas
      5. Montana
      4. Alabama
      3. Mississippi
      2. Louisiana
      1. Alaska

      So, what do you have to say. Got any data that supports your position?

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