Florida Shooting Raises Questions about Campus Gun Ban

U.S. Law Shield in Florida is following developments after one person was shot on Jan. 30 and a second injured on the Palm Bay campus of Eastern Florida State College (EFSC). The shooting doesn’t involve a Law Shield member, as far as we know, but a broader policy that’s involved could affect Law Shield members or their children.

According to an EFSC Statement on its Palm Bay Campus Shooting:

January 30, 2014 – One person was shot today and a second injured on the Palm Bay campus of Eastern Florida State College following a fight between a student and two men.

The incident occurred shortly before 2 p.m. in the campus parking lot when a student who was in his car was approached by two men who pulled up in another vehicle.

One of the men got out of the car and began beating the student with a pool cue. The student pulled a handgun from his car, shooting and wounding the man in the chest.

Campus Security officers were on the scene within seconds and Palm Bay Police arrived about one minute later, securing the area.

The shooting victim and injured student were taken to local hospitals for treatment. The student was later released and the shooting victim was listed in stable condition.

The student has been identified as Landrick Hamilton, 24, of Palm Bay. Hamilton has been a full-time student at the college since 2013 studying chemical technology. 

He has no history of disciplinary problems at the college.

U.S. Law Shield in Florida doesn’t want to comment further on the shooting before more details are announced. But we do want to comment on how the shooting has exposed the university’s gun-ban policy.

The state 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in December 2013 that Florida colleges and universities cannot ban people from storing guns in their cars while on campus.

In the ruling, the court said the Florida Legislature passed a law in 2011 that prohibits local governments and state agencies from issuing their own gun regulations, and that law covers the state’s 12 universities as well.

The University of North Florida, Florida State University, and University of South Florida have all dropped their bans on storing guns in cars.

However, 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.”

In our view, foot-dragging by Eastern Florida State College to keep its campus gun ban runs counter to the appeals court decision.

If the facts turn out that EFSC student Mr. Hamilton legally used a gun from his car to stop a beating — but gets disciplined by the school for exercising his legal right to self-defense — then EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey will have some explaining to do.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or open a thread in the new Law Shield Forum.

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