On Jan. 10, gun rights group Florida Carry Inc filed a lawsuit against the University of Florida (UF) to challenge the university’s policy of not allowing firearms in vehicles on campus or in student housing.
In its official statement, Florida Carry Inc claims that UF is in violation of state laws. The group argues that if citizens are allowed to have weapons in their homes, then students should be allowed to have weapons in their dormitories and on-campus apartments because they are a type of home.
“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,” said Florida Carry Inc.
In Dec. 2013, Florida Carry Inc won a lawsuit against the University of North Florida over the university’s ban on firearms in vehicles. It was ruled that the state legislature alone has the ability to determine whether people may carry firearms in public places, and public universities must comply with the legislature.
It is unclear whether the Florida Carry Inc lawsuit would allow students to carry firearms on campus anywhere other than in their housing or vehicles.
Many at Saint Leo University believe it is a bad idea for students to be allowed to have firearms on campus.
“It’s a danger for everyone living on campus. If something gets out of hand, next thing you know a student is dead on campus,” said Freshman Marlene Camacho.
“College students are very unstable. If they get drunk, there could be a fight and someone could die,” said Senior José Amateco.
Some students have even stronger views on firearm prohibition.
“I don’t even think it’s safe to have guns in homes or on the streets,” said Junior Jacob Gonzalez.
“I’m against even the army having guns, so I don’t think students should have guns either,” said Junior Paula Montoya.
Some students take a more cautious approach to firearm prohibition and suggest that tests should be enacted to determine whether or not somebody is psychologically capable to own a weapon.
“As long as students follow the proper safety measures and are psychologically sound, they should be allowed to have guns. I don’t think anything bad would happen as long as precautions are taken,” said Junior Zach Brassur.
Because Saint Leo University is a private institution, the administration will have full control over firearms policies no matter what the state laws decide.