Yesterday, March 3, 2014, Florida Carry, Inc., a non-partisan constitutional rights organization, filed a legal complaint against St. Petersburg College, its governing board and its campus security. The lawsuit was spurred by a complaint by one of Florida Carry's members that the college continues to enforce a firearm and non-lethal electronic weapon policy in violation of Florida statute. This is the fourth Florida college or university that Florida Carry has been forced to file a case against for refusing to follow state law. This past Friday, Florida Carry's Campus Policy Director contacted the college and was told no firearms are permitted to be stored in cars while on campus.
As we wrote this past December, Florida Carry won a Florida Appeals Court ruling which allowed weapons on campuses in Florida, as per Florida law. The appeal stemmed from the University of North Florida prohibiting students and visitors from keeping firearms in their cars on campus. In Florida Carry v. UNF the First District Court of Appeal ruled that "The legislature's primacy in firearms regulation derives directly from the Florida Constitution... Indeed, the legislature has reserved for itself the whole field of firearms regulation in section 790.33(1)..." No public college or university has any authority to prevent students and the public from having a functional firearm in places that are constitutionally protected or permitted under state law. In short, colleges with such policies are breaking the law and violating the rights of students, employees, and campus visitors.
After the appeals court ruling Florida Carry sent Florida universities the following notice: "Any Florida public college or university that fails to notify all students and the public that prohibitive policies regarding the storage of firearms, or other defensive arms, in the personal vehicles of its students and visitors are void and unenforceable by the first day of Spring semester classes will be subject to being sued by Florida Carry for violations of 790.33 Florida Statutes and/or Article I, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution."