In Florida, Judge Rules Against Guns in Campus Housing

Florida Law Shield was sorry to see a ruling last week in which Alachua County Circuit Judge Toby Monaco said that universities may ban guns in college residence halls.

The ruling was a setback for Florida Carry, Inc., which last year won a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal that said the state legislature has sole jurisdiction for gun policy, and that universities could not ban weapons stored in vehicles.

In the most recent action filed in January, Florida Carry had challenged the University of Florida’s policy that bans weapons on school property.

Judge Monaco’s order read, “But, unlike the right to have a firearm in a vehicle, the legislature’s recognition of a person’s right to possess a firearm in a home does not extend to a residence hall on a university campus. There is no exception in § 790.115(2) for a residence hall like there is for a vehicle. The distinction in treatment between vehicles and residence halls indicates that the legislature did not intend to make an exception for residence halls.”

A statement from the school read, “The University of Florida fully complies with Florida law that allows individuals 18 years or older to store their guns securely in vehicles while on campus, as determined by a 1st DCA decision last year, and the university will continue to do so. Florida law otherwise bans guns on university, college and K-12 campuses and at their events, with limited exceptions such as for law enforcement.”

Florida Carry, Inc. 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.