- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Florida appeals court sided with a college student who challenged a rule at the University of North Florida that banned students from storing guns in their cars while on campus.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that while universities have the power to restrict lawful conduct on campus, such as smoking, it does not have the power to regulate guns, The Associated Press reported.

“Restricting recreational activities is a far cry from restricting a fundamental, constitutional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense,” Judge Clay Roberts wrote.

His opinion was supported by the majority of the 15 judges, AP said.

Judge Philip Padovano dissented, arguing that voters approved a constitutional amendment that gave universities powers different from other agencies.

“These opinions pursue differing legal theories but they all arrive at the same conclusion: that a state university is powerless to prohibit students from bringing firearms to school,” he wrote, according to AP. “This remarkable conclusion is not supported in the law, and with due respect for my colleagues, I believe that it defies common sense.”

Eric Friday, who represented UNF student Alexandria Lainez and guns rights group Florida Carry Inc., said they were happy with the decision.

A UNF spokeswoman said the school had not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling, the AP reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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