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Friday, July 01, 2022

Pro-gun group says it's suing UF over car, dorm policies

UF is being sued for its guns-on-campus policies.

Florida Carry, a nonprofit supporting state residents’ right to bear arms, posted on its website Friday a news release saying it had filed a lawsuit against UF. It wants "a permanent injunction to protect the rights of students, faculty, and the public from the university's illegal and unconstitutional regulations prohibiting firearms and weapons on all university property,” according to the release.

But in a statement of its own, UF said it had not been served.

“We have not been served with the lawsuit nor have we been contacted by Florida Carry regarding it,” UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said.

Florida Carry’s release alleges UF has failed to comply with a December court decision allowing gun owners to bring firearms onto campus — as long as they're stored in vehicles. As previously reported by the Alligator, UF added a footnote to its regulations stating that those guns must be securely encased.

Florida Carry says that’s not good enough. According to the release, its executive director reached out to UF president Bernie Machen and later spoke with the university's General Counsel, who "refused to take our concerns about UF's illegal policies and regulations seriously and was dismissive of our plea that they work with us to craft a legal set of regulations."

Sikes said UF was surprised by the release “based on the conversation our General Counsel had with Florida Carry on Wednesday.”

"We need to be clear that the University of Florida is not challenging the 1st DCA decision," she said. "We believe we are in full compliance with that law requiring universities to allow individuals 18 years or older to store their guns securely in their cars on campus."

The Florida Carry release goes on to criticize UF's ban on firearms in residence halls. 

"The fact that state housing facilities run by Florida Universities continue to deprive law abiding adults of their fundamental right to keep and bear arms in their homes, years after the clear decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that such bans are unconstitutional, is unconscionable," according to the release.

In UF's conversation with Florida Carry, the subject of guns in the home wasn't discussed, Sikes said, adding it "was not the subject of the court’s decision."

Contact Julia Glum at jglum@alligator.org.

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