UNF Fights Lawsuit over Gun Rights; Oct. 1 State Law Restricting Firearms Regulations to the Legislature Cited
Broward, Charles, The Florida Times Union
Byline: Charles Broward
A student's right to keep a gun in her car while on campus and the University of North Florida's right to deny her have clashed in a lawsuit filed against the school and its president by the student and a gun-rights organization.
Alexandria Lainez wants to carry her gun in her car to and from school for self-defense, but the school prohibits firearms on campus. The suit filed last week in Duval County court by Lainez and Florida Carry Inc. says that is a violation of a recently updated Florida law.
Effective Oct. 1, the state can penalize government entities or officials that make gun-possession regulations at their respective institutions. Such regulations can only be made through laws enacted by the Legislature, according to the statute cited in the suit.
Those found in violation of the law face a $5,000 penalty and the possible removal of the official responsible, though that would be at the discretion of the governor.
In this case, that official would be UNF President John Delaney, who said the case comes down to a technicality.
Named in the suit, Delaney said the statute provides an exception to schools, including colleges.
"We feel that we are in compliance with the law," Delaney said.
The statute does give exception to schools, including post-secondary schools, which Delaney said colleges throughout the state have interpreted as their exclusion.
But the attorney representing the plaintiffs, Eric Friday, referred to Article 9 of the Florida Constitution, which defines school districts and universities differently in separate sections with respect to their governing boards. …