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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Despite a court ruling banning firearms in UF housing, a student group plans to lobby Wednesday to allow firearms on campus.

On Friday, the Florida First District Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by Florida Carry, Inc., a gun rights group, which claimed UF violated Florida law and constitutional rights by prohibiting possession of firearms in university housing.

But that isn’t stopping Students for Concealed Carry at UF from lobbying in Tallahassee.

In the Florida legislature, two bills, HB 4001 and SB 68, seeking to amend Florida law to allow guns on public college campuses have made their way through committees in past weeks.

Concealed Carry at UF will lobby for HB 4001 during the Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee meeting, said Brandon Woolf, 22, the organization’s president.

"We do hope that this legislation does pass," the UF architecture senior said.

Jesse Sallen, 21, president of UF College Democrats, said his organization will call legislators Wednesday and voice their concerns for guns on campus.

"Open carry should be banned on campus, and that includes dorms," the UF economics senior said.

The court’s ruling Friday was Florida’s latest move in a nationwide debate on gun laws and regulations.

It followed a lawsuit Florida Carry filed last year against UF, which sought to repeal the firearms rules and regulations and argued people, under Florida law, have a right to possess, carry and store firearms in university housing.

In defense, UF stated it followed state law prohibiting the possession of guns on college campuses. The court sided with UF in its ruling.

The court did recognize the relationship between sections of Florida law that prohibit guns on college and university campuses and permit people to store firearms in homes. Florida Carry argued residence hall rooms on university campuses classified as homes.

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Woolf said the group has been monitoring the appeal for firearms in university housing. He doesn’t think the case is completely closed yet.

"We’re watching and waiting to see what happens with it," he said.

Contact Hunter Williamson at hwilliamson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @hunterewilliam

Contact Caitlin Ostroff at costroff@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @ceostroff

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