UPDATED: FSU PD Alters Game Day Gun Policy In The Wake Of Lawsuit

Sep 9, 2015

FSU's game day parking policy is raising concerns with gun rights activists.
Credit Keith LaFaille via Flickr

Parking policies aren’t often the subject of litigation, but Florida State University’s prohibition of guns in cars has drawn a challenge from the group Florida Carry.  The university police department has since updated its policy.

UPDATE 9/9/2015 3:35 P.M.: In a statement, Florida State University says the language in its newest game day parking publication didn't reflect policy changes in place since 2013.  In short, the inclusion of warnings against any guns—even in cars—was an oversight.   The school says, as reported earlier, the policy document has since been updated, and it notes, "at no time while the out-of-date web site language existed was any individual cited for having a firearm or weapon legally secured in a vehicle."

In the same statement, FSU President John Thrasher says, "While we fully intend to continue complying with Florida law, I nevertheless reiterate my strenuous opposition to the recent initiatives to permit the carrying of guns on university campuses.  I do not believe that arming students increases campus safety."

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UPDATE 9/9/2015 3:00 P.M.: Florida allows gun owners with concealed carry licenses to bring their guns just about anywhere.  But two big prohibitions on that list?   University campuses and sporting events.  So the average person might not think twice about FSU’s gameday parking policy including the passage “firearms are not permitted to be stored in a vehicle on the FSU campus at any time, including game days.”  But Florida Carry President Sean Caranna says that prohibition is illegal.

“In 2013, we won a case against the University of North Florida where the court of appeals, in a pretty rare en banc—which means the entire court, all the judges of the court—ruled that yes, you do have a right to have your firearm in your car,” Caranna says.

Caranna says the school has failed to update its conduct code to reflect the finding and its new game day parking policy stands in direct opposition to the court’s ruling.  The university police department policy has since changed the policy to remove the offending language.

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The gun advocacy group Florida Carry has filed a lawsuit against Florida State University over a new game day parking policy.  The group’s president Sean Caranna says one of the prohibitions flies in the face of existing law.

"Yes, you do have a right to have your firearm in your car," Caranna says, "and the state of Florida has protected that right for a very long time, and the university was violating that right.”

The University Police Department has changed the policy but an earlier version includes the prohibition, “firearms are not permitted to be stored in a vehicle on the FSU campus at any time, including game days.”