Universities unable to regulate guns on campus

More crimes about guns

A post here a couple of years ago noted the challenges US universities were facing in trying to address guns on campus. More recently there was news in a survey on US students’ views on carrying concealed weapons which highlighted what seemed to be quite a large proportion of students who did not object to concealed carry.

Now Inside Higher Ed reports that a Florida appeals court has rejected the right of public universities to regulate guns on campus.

Someone who posted a pic on Facebook to offer a nuanced view on this topic

The court has determined that universities, except in limited circumstances, lack the legal right to regulate gun possession on campus:

The ruling came in a case involving a rule at the University of North Florida banning students from keeping guns in their cars. But the appeals court went beyond that rule (which it rejected) to speak more generally to the right of public colleges and universities to limit gun possession on campus, as local news media indicated they do. Under Florida’s Constitution, the appeals court found, only the Legislature can make such restrictions, so most rules imposed by public colleges and universities would be invalid.

Sadly they're talking about real ones

sadly they’re talking about real ones

The university had argued that a specific exemption in Florida law giving school districts the right to regulate guns in their facilities applied to public universities as well. The appeals court rejected that argument, saying that lawmakers specify different types of educational institutions in their regulations, so that references to school districts cannot be assumed to go beyond elementary and secondary education.

As noted in the report this leaves universities “powerless” to deal with guns on campus and the decision “defies common sense.” This puts it mildly. In order to maintain a safe and secure environment for students, staff and the public, surely they have to have the power to govern the presence of weapons on campus.

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3 thoughts on “Universities unable to regulate guns on campus

  1. The summary of this article that you provide misses some key points.

    Firstly, that in any society individuals have the right to self-defence. In a country such as the USA where illegal firearms are widespread and legal firearms widely available, the concept of ‘the use of reasonable force’ dictates that this might require the use of a firearm.

    Secondly, it misses the point that in reality the police exist to investigate crime rather than to provide a blanket guarantee of security against a crime happening, therefore it is required of the people to act to ensure their own security and that of others.

    Third, it suggests that the presence of Concealed Carry Permit holders in the staff or student body of an institution present a threat. The reality is that this is ridiculous, as, unlike the majority of US firearms owners and certainly not the illegal owners of firearms, all permit holders undergo rigorous vetting and required training before receiving their permit, which can then be readily revoked for even slight misdemeanors. Permit holders are, arguably, the most law-abiding, community minded people in society and should be regarded as such, not stigmatized for upholding their right to defend them-self.

    As someone working in a UK HEI, I would be happy to see concealed carry in this country, and on-campus. Why? Because the nominal Police response time for a crime which might result in harm to a person is up to 10 minutes and an awful lot can happen in 10 minutes when someone is intent on causing you harm.
    To seek to defend yourself or others against harm is not ‘defying common sense’, it IS common sense.

    • “Secondly, it misses the point that in reality the police exist to investigate crime rather than to provide a blanket guarantee of security against a crime happening, …”

      Exactly. In the United States by law the police have NO legal obligation to protect you as an individual and you cannot (successfully) sue them for failing to protect you, even if such failure is due to negligence. This has been to the Supreme Court several times and to the best of my knowledge no one has ever won a penny in judgment against a police department for failing to render personal protection to an individual.

      Secondly, people who go to the trouble to get a concealed carry license in the U.S. have an exemplary record of safety and law abiding conduct. They may sometimes get arrested for firearms violations, but nationally at a rate slightly lower than sworn police officers being arrested for firearms violations.

      Since “shall issue” concealed carry became a movement in Florida in the 1980s it has been a resounding success. Always when bills are first introduced into a state legislature for “shall issue” concealed carry there are loud cries that blood will run in the streets (a lot like the attitude of the author of this blog) but after a few years just the opposite is proven – every single time.

      regards,

      lwk

  2. ” In order to maintain a safe and secure environment for students, staff and the public, surely they have to have the power to govern the presence of weapons on campus.”

    These are public schools paid for by the public, right? The public elected the legislature, right?

    The public through the legislature has the right to tell these school officials to shut up, and set down. If they don’t like it, then quit.

    “Gun free zones” just create unarmed victims.

    lwk

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