I don’t know why some people feel a need to bring their concealed weapon to the poker table or mah-jong game in the clubhouse, but you would be surprised how many times I have been asked whether or not the Board has the right to make a rule that would simply prohibit guns in the common areas.
Here’s the funny part. I don’t think anyone is going to care one way or the other about my answer. The staunch 2nd amendment people are still going to say they have the right no matter what I say, and the anti-gun crowd will still say guns kill people, not people kill people. We’re that divided on this issue.
But considering it’s an issue that seems to be on lots of people’s minds, here’s my answer: The Board can ban guns on the common elements.
To reach that conclusion, let’s talk about two cases. In HIDDEN HARBOUR ESTATES, INC., v. NORMAN 309 So.2d 180 (4th DCA, 1975) suit was brought by a condominium owner to enjoin enforcement of condominium association rule prohibiting use of alcoholic beverages in the clubhouse and adjacent areas. The Circuit Court granted a permanent injunction against enforcement of the rule and the association appealed. The District Court of Appeal held that the association could adopt reasonable rules, and that the restriction on the use of alcoholic beverages was reasonable. Moreover, the court said:
Inherent in the condominium concept is the principle that to promote health, happiness, and peace of mind of majority of unit owners, since they are living in such close proximity and using facilities in common, each unit owner must give up a certain degree of freedom of choice which he might otherwise enjoy in a separate, privately owned property.
Twenty-Eight years later, in NEUMAN v. GRANDVIEW AT EMERALD HILLS, INC. 861 So.2d 494 (4th DCA, 2002) condominium unit owners brought an action for injunctive and declaratory relief against a condominium association challenging a rule banning use of the common elements for religious services. The Circuit Court denied the owners’ motion for a permanent injunction against the rule. The District Court of Appeal held that the rule did not unreasonably restrict the owners’ rights to peaceably assemble. More specifically, the court said, prohibiting the use of the common elements of a condominium for those types of assembly which will have a particularly divisive effect on the condominium community is a reasonable restriction and where a condominium association’s regulations regarding common elements are reasonable and not violative of specific statutory limitations, the regulations should be upheld.
So, alcohol can be banned from the common areas even though alcohol is legal. Your 1st amendment right to practice religion can be banned from the common areas as well. There is no specific statutory right to bring your concealed weapon on to the common areas of a condominium. Therefore, I can’t see a Florida court ever deciding that there’s more of a right to bring your gun into the clubhouse, then there is to drink a beer or say a prayer. I can’t see a Florida Court ever taking the position that the ban of weapons from the clubhouse is somehow an unreasonable rule. So, if a Board says “no Guns” then “no Guns” it is.