Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Education

Lawsuit alleges SPC unlawfully restricts firearms

A lawsuit filed this week has brought the gun rights debate to St. Petersburg College.

Florida Carry Inc., a nonprofit gun rights organization registered in Port Orange, has sued the school, saying its policy on firearms violates state law. According to the lawsuit, filed Monday, a complaint about SPC prompted the group's campus policy director to call the school's security department.

A security guard, named in the lawsuit as "Larry Doe," told the caller it was a violation of SPC policy for students to possess a firearm in their cars while parked on campus. Florida Carry also examined the school's policies online and found that they prohibit firearms "anywhere on SPC property," the lawsuit states.

In December, the group prevailed in the case of a University of North Florida student who challenged that school's firearms policy, saying it prevented her from carrying a gun in her car on the way to school for protection. State law says in part: "No public or private employer may prohibit any customer, employee, or invitee from possessing any legally owned firearm when such firearm is lawfully possessed and locked inside or locked to a private motor vehicle in a parking lot and when the customer, employee, or invitee is lawfully in such area."

Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in the student's favor, and Florida Carry pledged to sue any Florida college that didn't comply. It's lawsuit against SPC names the school's president, William Law, as a defendant.

SPC spokeswoman Wilma Norton declined to comment, saying the school has not officially been served with the lawsuit.

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