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Florida State University allows guns locked inside cars at football games

By Tomas Monzon

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Florida State University revised a part of its policy on guns this week to allow students to bring a gun and keep it locked in their car during football games.

The ordeal began when FSU student Rebekah Hargrove was told by the president of Students for Concealed Carry FSU that bringing her gun would constitute a breach of the campus gun policy. This prompted her to contact Florida Carry, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the right of Floridians to bear arms.

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The organization claimed FSU's policy violated state law and sued FSU President John Thrasher for not following a 2013 state law that says students can have guns locked in their cars during game days and weekdays when class is in session.

Just a day after being brought to FSU's attention, the university revised its policy to allow students with concealed carry permits to keep a gun in their car. The university said it followed the model set by Florida Carry's 2013 case against the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, which exacted the same result.

Thrasher issued a statement on the matter Wednesday. Although he said the university will abide by the law, he reiterated his "strenuous opposition to the recent initiatives to permit the carrying of guns on university campuses."

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"I do not believe that arming students increases campus safety," Thrasher explained.

Florida Carry plans to continue its lawsuit against the university because it additionally claims students shouldn't need a permit to keep guns in their cars.

Students parking at the University of Florida or Santa Fe College in Gainesville are also able to keep guns in their car. At UF, guns are still banned inside the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

A freshman student there, Annie Alderman, told WUFT she witnessed a shooting in July perpetrated by individuals who had happened to park on campus. She says a university setting is hard to control when it comes to guns.

A campus carry bill slated for discussion during the 2015 Florida legislative session stalled and was refiled for 2016. It will be discussed during the first week of committee meetings next week.

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