FL 1st District Court: Universities can’t ban guns on campus

BizPac Review’s Joe Saunders reports on Tuesday’s 1st District Court of Appeals ruling, “Florida Carry Inc. and Alexandria Lainez vs. the University of North Florida centered around Lainez’s ability to store a gun in her vehicle while attending classes at [the University of North Florida] UNF so she would have available for self-defense while traveling to and from campus. Lainez is a young mother ‘and she takes seriously her responsibility to protect herself and her child.’”

“Lainez, who’s 24 and has had a concealed weapons permit for three years, said she takes firearms safety and training pretty seriously, too. A Jacksonville resident with a half-hour one-way commute to school, she said she’s working to get students at other schools interested in gun training, too,” writes Saunders.

Gary Fineout, Associated Press, reports, “State universities would be blocked from regulating guns on campus under a potentially far-reaching ruling handed down Tuesday by a Florida appeals court. The 1st District Court of Appeal – in a rare opinion decided by the entire appeals court – sided with a University of North Florida student and a gun rights group that challenged a university rule banning students on campus from storing guns in their cars.”

Read the 1st District Court of Appeal opinion here.

“[T]he appeals court ruled that the Florida Legislature has pre-empted the regulation of guns by local governments and state agencies. The court decided the state’s 12 public universities are covered by this 2011 law. The ruling notes that while universities have the power to restrict lawful conduct – like drinking or smoking on campus – that power does not extend to regulating guns,” notes Fineout.

Joe Saunders from BizPac Review writes, “This is a growing movement in a number of cases,” said Jacksonville attorney Eric Friday, who represents Florida Carry Inc. and UNF student Alexandria Lainez in the court fight. Friday, who called the Lainez decision the biggest of its kind in Florida in 20 years, said the case “reaffirmed that the power to regulate firearms rests solely with the Legislature and not anywhere else.”

Saunders notes, “Lainez, a member of Florida Carry, sued UNF to change the regulation, but lost at trial to UNF’s argument that it could ban weapons because state law allowed school districts to do so. UNF argued that since it’s a school, it should be considered like a public school district. In Tuesday’s decision, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled otherwise.”


Florida Carry is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental civil right of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self defense as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution’s Declaration of Rights.

Florida Carry, Inc. was organized in order to better coordinate activities, effectively lobby the state legislature, and to provide a legal entity capable of filing suit to demand compliance with state and federal law. Florida Carry stands only to represent our members and the over 7 million gun owners of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization’s agenda that may compromise that mission. Florida Carry is now the state’s largest independent second amendment advocacy organization.

1 reply
  1. Andrew Nappi
    Andrew Nappi says:

    “In Florida, the constitutional right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves is older than the State itself. The right dates back 175 years to the 1838 Florida Constitution,12 adopted by the Territory of Florida (formerly
    East Florida and West Florida), which was seeking admission into the Union at that time. Florida was admitted as the twenty-seventh State in 1845, and the constitutional right—with only a small gap13—has endured ever since.” The court got this one right. What would be truly helpful going forward is for State issues and cases such as this, that do not include an attempt by the federal government to infringe, NOT be characterized by writers as “Second Amendment victories.” This is a not a Second Amendment case. It is a Florida case, decided properly. Using the Second Amendment as a generic term for any and all firearms cases, weakens the argument in the long term; and continues to give credence to the fallacy of the Incorporation Doctrine. This legal mythology may provide short term “victories” such as Heller or McDonald, but Incorporation turns federalism upside down, and hands sovereignty to the judiciary at the expense of the people.


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