College Suspends Student Over Gun Range Photo

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For many gun owners, going to the range is like going to the grocery store. It’s something we do so often it elicits little reaction on our part. Don’t get me wrong, all of those folks–myself included, to be fair–enjoy the range. It’s just not an event that requires a great deal of documentation.


That’s not the case for a lot of other people, though. For them, a trip to a gun range is an exciting adventure, something they may never have considered doing. They want pictures because, in this day and age, “pics or it didn’t happen.”

For one woman, a picture of her day at the range got her suspended from college. Now, she’s suing the school.

Florida’s First Coast Technical College has a low view of the U.S. and state constitutions, according to a federal lawsuit by a student who says she’s been suspended indefinitely.

Dia’mon Dallas is suing the Florida college for violating her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and retaliating against her in violation of the Florida Constitution, the Jacksonville Daily Record reports.

The college, which is part of the St. Johns County School District, suspended Dallas after another student reported a Facebook photo of her and her fiance “holding legally purchased and lawfully possessed firearms at a gun range in Palatka,” according to the lawsuit:

Two days after the photograph was posted, Dallas was confronted on the college’s St. Augustine campus by the assistant principal and informed that she was being suspended indefinitely for appearing in a picture holding a firearm.

During the suspension meeting, the assistant principal [Donna Gary-Donovan] said that in the posted picture, Dallas had a “mean look” on her face, was possessing “illegal guns” and stated that “things you do in the dark come in to the light,” according to the complaint. [Gary-Donovan is white.]

The photo constitutes “purely off-campus Facebook communication with friends,” has no connection to a “school-related activity” and could not “interrupt the school environment,” according to the suit, meaning the college’s sanction on Dallas is retaliation.


She wants a judgment against the school, damages to be determined at trial, and her records at the school to be fixed.

I can’t say that I blame her.

Now, for the record, in the blockquote, the assistant principal’s race is noted. Ordinarily, I’d blast that outright, but I think it’s relevant in this case. You see, the picture in question may not be a particularly smart choice of a photograph due to gun safety rules (she’s pointing the gun at the camera), but she doesn’t look particularly mean. There’s also nothing to suggest these weapons were illegal…

…unless you make that assumption because Dallas is black. Why would you assume the firearm–a semi-automatic handgun–is illegal for any reason? I can certainly see why one might assume race is playing a factor here.

How sad is it that we live in a world where you have to look skeptically at claims of potential racism because so many people have screamed racism at everything but some examples of actual racism?

Regardless, there’s nothing at all in the photo that would warrant a suspension. Not in a free society, anyway. Dallas has Second Amendment rights as well as First Amendment rights. That means she can post pictures of her holding guns on social media if she wants to. The school doesn’t get a say in that kind of thing, and it’s high time the school learns to mind its own damn business.


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