Make us your home page
Instagram

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. 

iStockphoto.com

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 [email protected] 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

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.