Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF policy change allows guns in cars on campus

USF students can’t carry guns on campus, but after a policy change Monday, they are allowed to keep them in their cars.

USF students can’t carry guns on campus, but after a policy change Monday, they are allowed to keep them in their cars. 

TAMPA — Students can't carry guns on campus at the University of South Florida. But after a policy change Monday, they are allowed to keep them in their cars.

USF announced the change in response to a December ruling by Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal declaring that universities could not prevent students from storing firearms in their cars.

It all stems from a 2011 case in which University of North Florida student Alexandria Lainez and gun rights group Florida Carry Inc. sued UNF based on its gun policy.

Lainez, a single mother, said she normally carried her gun during her commute through Jacksonville's rough neighborhoods to protect herself and her son. She said the policies at UNF prevented her from carrying the gun on the ride to school because she wasn't allowed to store it in her car during class.

Florida Carry cited the state's weapons and firearms statutes, which say, 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."

In December, the court of appeal sided with Lainez in a 75-page ruling.

After the ruling, Florida Carry threatened to sue any Florida university that didn't change its policy.

USF officials placed the policy under review before formally updating it to comply with the law on Jan. 3, according to a university spokesman.

The policy, available on USF's website, states that individuals are prohibited from carrying firearms on USF property, except as provided by Florida law. It doesn't specifically mention that people can keep guns in cars.

Florida Carry officials are pleased with the steps taken at USF, the organization's lead counsel, Eric Friday, said. However, they would like to see USF explicitly state that people can keep guns in their cars.

"They have made what appears to be a good faith attempt to resolve the issue," Friday said. "And while we don't believe that it's sufficient, we're not about to sue someone and play any kind of games. We would much rather resolve these cases through discussions rather than litigation."

Friday said Florida Carry had reached out to USF officials and hoped to hear back.

Students don't have to let anyone on campus know if they plan to keep guns in their cars on campus, but they should use common sense, said USF police spokesman Lt. Chris Daniels.

"It's just another item in the car that's subject to theft," he said. "So I would make sure it's out of view just like anything else."

Florida law prohibits guns on state campuses, and universities are exempt from concealed weapons permits, Daniels said.

The policy change regarding guns in cars applies to all campuses under the USF umbrella, including USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. It also applies to all students, faculty, staff, visitors, contractors and guests.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at or (813) 226-3394.

USF policy change allows guns in cars on campus 01/06/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 7:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  2. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  3. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big


    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  4. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  5. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times