Group sues FSU over policy banning guns in cars at games
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – A Florida State University student who wants to bring her gun to this weekend’s football game sued the school Tuesday over a policy that bans legal gun owners from locking their firearms in their cars while in the stadium cheering on their team.
The suit was filed by gun-rights group Florida Carry on behalf of Rebekah Hargrove, who also wants to drive to campus for classes without violating the school’s policy banning firearms in parking lots.
“This newest prohibition they put on their game day plan was such a blatant violation of state law,” said Florida Carry executive director Sean Caranna. “The law always allows this, but the problem is that we have a university saying people will be arrested for violating an illegal policy.”
The group is seeking an injunction before this Saturday’s game against the University of South Florida at Doak Campbell Stadium. More than 80,000 people typically attend Seminoles football games. While Florida law allows people who legally own guns to keep them locked in their cars, schools are among the exception to the law.
In 2012, however, an appeals court sided with Florida Carry in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the University of North Florida’s policy that banned guns locked in cars on campus.
The Legislature has considered but failed to pass bills the past two years that would allow students with concealed weapons permits to keep guns on campus. University President John Thrasher is a former senator who opposed the idea of allowing guns on campus while serving in the Legislature.
Florida State is also the site of a 2014 shooting in which a mentally ill gunman wounded three students at a university library before police fatally shot him. Some gun-rights advocates have used the event to argue for guns on campus, while opponents have cited the case as a reason to ban them.
University spokeswoman Browning Brooks said the school doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.
Florida Carry also has sued the University of Florida over similar policies.