Florida College Backs Down After Attempting to Block Empty Holster Protest

by Erik Soderstrom on February 13, 2013

This story is a great reminder that public colleges must respect your first amendment rights on campus, even if they disapprove of your message. If campus officials try to shut down your event, don’t be afraid to ask your state or regional director for help. Sometimes, as in this case, all it takes is a simple letter reminding them of their obligations to clear the way for a peaceful protest:

GAINESVILLE, Fla., February 11, 2013—Prompted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Florida’s Santa Fe College acknowledged the importance of free speech last week by affirming a student organization’s right to symbolically protest in support of gun rights on campus. When the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter at Santa Fe College met with opposition to the protest from campus police, the group turned to FIRE for help.

“Campus police can be skittish when students use their First Amendment rights to advocate for controversial policies,” said FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley. “We’re glad that Santa Fe College quickly realized that the First Amendment protects all political opinions on campus regardless of viewpoint.”

On January 9, at a meeting of Santa Fe’s Student Government Senate, YAL representative Adam Edwards announced YAL’s intention to hold an empty holster protest on the Santa Fe campus. Empty holster protests, in which students wear empty gun holsters to symbolically protest laws prohibiting students from carrying concealed handguns on campus, have been held peacefully and without incident on dozens of campuses in recent years and constitute protected political expression.

Read the whole thing at TheFIRE.org

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1425334534 Daniel J. Burris

    The message I get from this is that rather than just toss my empty Galco on my belt for significant events, I should organize and get some representation beforehand. What is the most prudent way to partake in/start and empty holster protest?

  • http://www.facebook.com/attist178 Tim Nelson

    Good work, all. Keep this going!

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