Florida Carry sues Eastern Florida State College for illegal ban on guns and other defensive weapons in cars


On Thursday January 30th there was an apparent self-defense incident in the parking lot at the Palm Bay campus of Eastern Florida State College. While we won't be commenting on the incident until all relevant facts are known, something very troubling has come to light as a result.

In December the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Florida Carry in our lawsuit against the University of North Florida. This case ruled that college policies prohibiting the lawful possession of firearms and other arms in private vehicles on campus are preempted by both statute and by the Florida Constitution. In short, colleges with such policies are breaking the law and violating the rights of students, employees, and campus visitors.

Also on Thursday, Eastern Florida State issued a press release that states, in relevant part:

The incident comes following a Florida appeals court ruling last week that struck down a University of North Florida policy that banned keeping firearms in cars on campus.

Some Florida universities have since changed their policies to allow guns in cars on campus, but Eastern Florida State College has kept its ban in place pending a final court rehearing of the UNF case.

Eastern Florida State College policy prohibits weapons anywhere on its four campuses, with the following stated in the college's governing policy manual and in the Student Code of Conduct:

"Students may not possess weapons while on college property (law enforcement officers excluded.) Weapons are defined as firearms, knives, explosives, flammable materials or any other items that may cause bodily injury or damage to property."

To be clear, there is no rehearing or appeal on the merits of the decision pending in any court. There is a pending motion for reconsideration of the court's award of attorney's fees but that has no bearing whatsoever on the finality of the 1st DCA order. The court's order is final and binding statewide and Eastern Florida State is clearly breaking the law.

On Monday February 3rd, 2014 Florida Carry, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Eastern Florida State College (EFSC), seeking a permanent injunction to protect the rights it members who are students, faculty, and the campus visitors from the college's illegal and unconstitutional regulations prohibiting defensive firearms and weapons on all college property. Since 1987 the Florida Legislature has preempted firearms law and issued state-wide licenses to carry for self-defense. In December Florida Carry won a similar case against the University of North Florida (UNF). In Florida Carry v. UNF the First District Court of Appeal ruled that "The legislature’s primacy in firearms regulation derives directly from the Florida Constitution... Indeed, the legislature has reserved for itself the whole field of firearms regulation in section 790.33(1)..." No public college or university has any authority to prevent students and the public from having a functional firearm in places that are constitutionally protected or permitted under state law. Eastern Florida State has willfully and intentionally refused to comply with the court's ruling. In short, colleges with such policies are breaking the law and violating the rights of students, employees, and campus visitors. Florida Carry will not sit idly by and watch the civil rights of Floridians be violated.

Docket Overview: Lower Court Case Number: 05-2014-CA-014025
Brevard County Clerk of the Circuit Court

Lower Court Filings: 

2/3/2014 Plaintiffs' Complaint
4/30/2014 All EFSC regulations changed - Settlement Reached.

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