Friday, December 20, 2013

Change in the law on "securely encased" for college campus parking

Let's all give a word of thanks to Florida Carry, Inc -- that sponsored the recent case of Florida Carry Inc. v. University of North Florida,  38 Fla. L. Weekly D2592 (Fla. 1DCA 2013), and their attorneys (Eric J. Friday, Lyman T. Fletcher, and Michael R. Phillips from Jacksonville), for a really important en banc decision from the First District Court of Appeal.  (en banc means the whole court -- not just the normal three judge panel).   In that case,  on December 10, 2013,  the First District held that post-secondary schools  (college, university) do not have the authority to restrict "securely encased" firearms within a vehicle on a college or university campus.   Thus -- despite any school regulations to the contrary -- it is now totally lawful to have a securely encased firearm in your vehicle -- parked or occupied -- on the grounds of a college or university in Florida.

Be warned -- this does not change the law as applied to "normal" schools such as an elementary, middle, or high school.  In that situation,  the School Board (not the local school -- only the School Board) may pass a "written and published" regulation that forbids possession in a vehicle on school property.  Thus,  if you see a warning sign when you pull up to a school that says something like "no firearms in vehicles" -- it might be wise not to have a firearm in the vehicle, even if securely encased.   [I actually believe there are several theories why this restriction is not correct, and can be gotten around -- but I'd rather pass on making those known -- since the idea isn't to make you a "test case", but is to keep you out of trouble with the law].

There's also a crack in the way things work with a private college, etc.  In that case, since they are not government funded,  they do not fall within the preemption law, and since any "school" covered in 790.115 is exempted from the parking lot law -- they can technically ban firearms from vehicles on their property, and discipline, suspend, or future trespass anyone who disobeys.   However -- they can't make it a crime.

By the way -- joining Florida Carry isn't a bad idea, and I encourage it.  They are the most pro-active organization in Florida that actually litigates important pro-gun issues.  Unfortunately,  they hate my guts since I'm not in favor of open carry, and therefore they'll have zero to do with me.  I think that's a bit of narrow thinking -- but nothing I haven't experienced before with other organizations.

19 comments:

  1. I, too, an not a fan of open carry. You do not want to advertise that you are carrying a gun to the unsuspecting criminal. The surprise element is in your favor. Maybe, the securely encased law for the Florida Universities and colleges is the first step in implementing that law for all schools and Armed Guards at all of the schools.

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    1. I personally have nothing against open carry other than I know it will not work in Florida, and also know the complications it would cause that would inhibit the Second Amendment rather than enhance it. Those who were around back when the CWP law first came out in 1987 can attest what an uproar was caused by open carry -- which is when it was changed to pure concealed. Open carry is great -- but it won't work in Florida in more urban areas.

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  2. Thanks for the update.

    I heard some news coverage, and I believe they said that since the university system doesn't have a school board, they can't forbid firearms in vehicles. If I heard that right, would/could/should that apply to daycare/VPK centers as well?

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    1. It will have the same application to any "school" that is not governed by a school board. Again -- that's "securely encased" in a vehicle. Nowhere else.

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  3. Jon just a heads up, your blog is not as mobile device friendly as it use to be. iPhone 4 really struggles with it

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    1. Thanks. Unfortunately, that's purely an issue with Google. I have zero control over how the site handles devices.

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  4. I joined Florida Carry a while back. I agree that they have been doing some good work for carry rights here in Florida.

    While I'm not a big fan of open carry (for myself), I like the idea of being able to use an outside-the-waistband holster along with a cover shirt. While I PROBABLY could get away with it if I'm careful to wear a cover shirt that covers it sufficiently, I worry about an accidental display causing someone to call the authorities who may decide to call it OC in spite of the cover shirt. I would rather not have that kind of trouble (which is also why I read "the book" (thanks again for writing it btw).

    s

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    1. Florida Carry is a great organization, however, accidental display should not cause any legal issues since the law was changed by allowing momentary display for CWP holders.

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  5. Oh Jon, We don't hate you... We think you're a right good egg!

    It's just that need attorneys on our legal team who are able to represent us by following our integrated litigation strategy.

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  6. Thanks . . . I stand corrected. Feeling the warmth already. Actually, retired from the courtroom back in April and just doing consulting these days. That allows me more time to finish my coffee in the morning.

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  7. Have College Police Departments been made aware of this? I called mine this morning and the dispatch person is unaware of any such law.

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    1. Unless they've read my book or blog -- I seriously doubt it.

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  8. Next Up: Can you possess a firearm in your residence if you're living on campus at a state university?

    Florida Carry takes the University of Florida to court to find out: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20140110/articles/140119970#gsc.tab=0

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    1. Not under current interpretations, although there is a heavy constitutional argument involved that might win if a declaratory judgement case were brought to test it.

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  9. Jon, was the 1DCA ruling appealed or is does it now completely stand?

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  10. The 1DCA ruling is the law of the entire State of Florida, and can be relied upon. The only danger are cops who don't know the law has changed.

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  11. There is a convenient road shortcut through the campus of a local college. There are no postings at the entrances or along the roadways to the effect that firearms or other weapons are prohibited. Is it legal to drive through the campus while carrying a concealed weapon on my person - I'm a permit holder - as long as I remain in the vehicle and don't stop while in transit?

    John A.

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  12. I generally require legal questions to be directed via email from my website link rather than the blog. If they are of general interest -- then I will enter them as a new blog article. Please submit via email thru the website link. Also -- it's already covered in the book.

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