Virginia Tech "Gun Free Zone"-- Law or Policy?

This is a discussion on Virginia Tech "Gun Free Zone"-- Law or Policy? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; As most of you know I am a Virginia Tech student. I was reading through the statutes today and noticed something odd about schools/universities. Virginia ...

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Thread: Virginia Tech "Gun Free Zone"-- Law or Policy?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array kavity's Avatar
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    Virginia Tech "Gun Free Zone"-- Law or Policy?

    As most of you know I am a Virginia Tech student. I was reading through the statutes today and noticed something odd about schools/universities. Virginia State law says I can't carry (note the bold text):

    * No person shall carry a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club as defined in 4.1-100 for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board under Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia, nothing herein shall prohibit any owner or event sponsor or his employees from carrying a concealed handgun while on duty at such restaurant or club if such person has a concealed handgun permit. NOTE: only concealed handguns are prohibited - openly carried handguns are allowed
    * Private property when prohibited by the owner of the property, or where posted as prohibited. Violation is a trespass charge and not a firearms violation
    * Carrying dangerous weapon to place of religious worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held unless you have "good and sufficient reason." There is no known definition of what a good and sufficient reason would be. Violation is a minor crime, punishible by a fine of up to $100.
    * Courthouse. Violation is a high-level misdemeanor
    * School property/school functions unless gun is unloaded, in an enclosed container (but NOT in the glove box or console) and in the vehicle. A car's trunk is considered an enclosed container. However, a concealed handgun permit holder can have a loaded, concealed handgun in the vehicle while in the school parking lot, traffic circle, etc. The concealed handgun and the permit holder must stay in the vehicle. Firearms are not banned from property open to the public where a school function is being held unless that property is being used exclusively for the school function. Violation of this statute is a felony
    * Virginia Commonwealth University (8VAC90-10-50). Violation is a trespass charge

    * Non-secure areas of airport terminals are off limits unless you are a passenger and you have your gun unloaded, in a locked container in your checked luggage, and declare the gun at the check-in counter. Violation is a high-level misdemeanor.
    The law explicitly mentions VCU as a "no carry zone"...but does this mean that other universities in Virginia are not bound by this restriction? Does "school == university"? If school == university then why does the statute specify VCU??

    My interpretation of these laws is that you cannot carry in public schools in VA; however, you can carry at universities --with the exception of VCU

    I have seen "Gun Free Zone" signs at the entrances of VT and have always heard that VT is a gun free zone (ie "No guns allowed on campus"). Is this a policy issue? I couldn't find anything in the policies page of the VT website about weapons, firearms, etc on campus.

    So I guess my questions are:

    Does VA state law forbid carry at universities (other than VCU)?
    Is VT being a "gun free zone" a policy or a law?


    I realize that none of you are lawyers, so don't feel like I will just take your word for it but I would appreciate your advice, interpretations, and direction.

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Black Knight's Avatar
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    According to the VA Attorney General it is policy. The law specifically names VCU but no other colleges or universities. If you are a student they can expell you and ask you to leave. If you are not a student or employee they can only ask you to leave. If you refuse to leave then you can be arrested for tresspassing (failure to leave when so ordered). According to the AG you cannot be charged with a weapon crime because since no other college is named or referred to in the law no weapon crime has been committed. This only applies if you are simply carrying, if brandishing that is a whole different story. BTW IANAL.

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    Senior Member Array kavity's Avatar
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    I wonder what the school's policy is on firearms...

    edit: found it

    10. Fireworks/Explosives/Hazardous Chemicals/Weapons
    Unauthorized possession or use of fireworks, explosives, or weapons is prohibited. Hazardous chemicals that could pose a health risk are also prohibited from the campus, including chemicals that, when combined with other substances, could be hazardous or present a danger to others.

    Unauthorized possession, storage (in vehicles on campus as well as in the residence halls), or control of firearms and weapons on university property is prohibited. (NOTE: Organizational weapons of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, approved by the commandant, are not prohibited by this policy.) Firearms are defined as any gun, rifle, pistol, or handgun designed to fire bullets, BBs, pellets, or shots (including paint balls), regardless of the propellant used. Other weapons are defined as any instrument of combat or any object not designed as an instrument of combat but carried for the purpose of inflicting or threatening bodily injury. Examples include (but are not limited to) knives with fixed blades or pocket knives with blades longer than four inches, razors, metal knuckles, blackjacks, hatchets, bows and arrows, nun chahkas, foils, or any explosive or incendiary device. Possession of realistic replicas of weapons on campus is prohibited. Students who store weapons in residence hall rooms, who brandish weapons, or who use a weapon in a reckless manner may face disciplinary action which may include suspension or dismissal from the university.

    Refer to Section V.W. for additional information about Weapons.
    So what does this mean about concealed carry? What are the consequences of carrying on campus? I wouldn't be storing it in a residence hall, brandishing it, or using it in a reckless manner....

    It just says that they are prohibited, but not what happens if you get caught with one.

    Section V.W. basically says the same thing with an addendum to the bottom of it:
    Section V.W. - Weapons

    Unauthorized possession, storage, or control of firearms and weapons on university property is prohibited, including storing weapons in vehicles on campus as well as in the residence halls. (Note: organizational weapons of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, approved by the commandant, are not prohibited by this policy.)

    Firearms are defined as any gun, rifle, pistol, or handgun designed to fire bullets, BBs, pellets, or shots (including paint balls), regardless of the propellant used. Other weapons are defined as any instrument of combat or any object not designed as an instrument of combat but carried for the purpose of inflicting or threatening bodily injury. Examples include but are not limited to knives with fixed blades or pocket knives with blades longer than 4 inches, razors, metal knuckles, blackjacks, hatchets, bows and arrows, nun chukkas, foils, or any explosive or incendiary device. Possession of realistic replicas of weapons on campus is prohibited. Students who store weapons in residence hall rooms, who brandish weapons, or who use a weapon in a reckless manner may face disciplinary action, which may include suspension or dismissal from the university.

    Exceptions to possessing weapons may be made in the case of university functions or activities and for educational exhibitions or displays. Such exceptions will be subject to authorization by the Virginia Tech Police. This policy does not prohibit the possession of firearms by persons, such as law enforcement officers, who are authorized by law to do so in the performance of their duties. A weapons storage program is available. Interested persons should contact the Virginia Tech Police (Sterrett Facilities Complex, 231-6411.
    Last edited by kavity; June 22nd, 2007 at 11:55 PM.

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    Senior Member Array Juggernaut's Avatar
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    "School" should be defined at the end of the title, but I'm pretty sure it means k-12, but I'm not 100% sure.
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    Member Array Ben B.'s Avatar
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    Your posted text reads like a mix of actual law and somebody's interpretation. Is it actually the text of the statuates?

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    Member Array Harold Fastwaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben B. View Post
    Your posted text reads like a mix of actual law and somebody's interpretation. Is it actually the text of the statuates?
    Its from Packing.org. So its word for word as much as possible. The laws are also posted on VA State Police's website.



    Kavity: As a college student myself. It is just a policy. Schools are considered "private" so they make their own rules. VCU is the only school, my guess because its within Richmond. Which is why they have an actual law against carrying.

    Now, what this means for you and I and the rest of the college kids out there. You CAN carry, however if caught depending on the wording of the Schools handbook they CAN expel you. There was actually a guy who was expelled from VT for carrying on campus a couple years ago. I believe he got back in with the help of a lawyer.

    Like I said, its just the school saying "Gun Free Zone." Each school handbook is different. Some state NOBODY can carry any firearm on campus. Others say ONLY faculty,students and other employees can not carry. But this has no binding to parents visiting or any other visitors.

    Look online at the student handbook for VT. It will have a section on Firearms and Weapons.


    Does VA state law forbid carry at universities (other than VCU)? NO
    Is VT being a "gun free zone" a policy or a law? Policy



    Also, when they speak of schools they mean K-12. As a CWP holder you ARE allowed to drive into a K-12 school parking lot, BUT YOU CANNOT EXIT THE VEHICLE. They did this to allow parents to drop off their children and not have to drive home to pick up their firearm before heading to work.



    This is the INFO second hand from another VA resident regarding VTech policy:

    2.2 and 2.3 of VT's Policy and Procedures. These sections are as follows:

    2.2 Prohibition of Weapons
    The university’s employees, students, and volunteers, or any visitor or other third party attending a sporting, entertainment, or educational event, or visiting an academic or administrative office building or residence hall, are further prohibited from carrying, maintaining, or storing a firearm or weapon on any university facility, even if theowner has a valid permit, when it is not required by the individual’s job, or in accordance with the relevant University Student Life Policies. Any such individual who is reported or discovered to possess a firearm or weapon on university property will be asked to remove it immediately. Failure to comply may result in a student judicial referral and/or arrest, or an employee disciplinary action and/or arrest.

    2.3 Authorized Exceptions to Prohibition on Possession of Firearms or
    Weapons
    An employee may possess a firearm or weapon if it is:
    • Used by an employee who is a certified law enforcement officer employed by the Virginia Tech Police Department;
    • Required as a part of the employee’s job duties with the Commonwealth of Virginia; or
    • Connected with training received by the employee in order to perform the responsibilities of their job with the university.

    Employees and students may possess and use appropriate tools, such as saws, knives, and other such implements,
    necessary for the performance of their job duties or school work, or for student recreational purposes approved under University Student Life Policies. Certain agricultural workers have been authorized to use firearms, and hunting on university property may be authorized by the appropriate university officials. Some employees reside in university-owned houses and are permitted to keep personal firearms on these premises; however, this exception does not extend to employees living in university residence halls. As stated in The University Policies for Student Life, students may not possess, use, or store firearms or weapons on university property; however, firearms and other weapons may be stored with the Virginia Tech Police
    Department to be checked out for use off-campus. Organizational weapons of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, approved by the Commandant, are not prohibited by this policy. Other exceptions must be approved by the Vice President for Business Affairs, in consultation with appropriate university offices.

    Hope that helps.

    Stay Safe
    Last edited by Harold Fastwaker; June 23rd, 2007 at 01:42 AM.

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    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    My interpretation of these laws is that you cannot carry in public schools in VA; however, you can carry at universities --with the exception of VCU
    That would be my interpretation of it, too. But do not rely on my word for legal advice; I'm just offering my opinion. From the look of it, CCW would get a person in no more trouble at VT than it would if you broke a no-guns rule at a department store. IF discovered, AND asked to leave, you would have to oblige or face a trespassing charge. But then, why would anyone want to remain in the establishment run by such idiots in the first place?

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    From: http://www.vcdl.org/pdf/OP-05-078.pdf

    Va Attorney General opinion on college carry.


    .......the governing boards of Virginia’s public colleges and universities may not impose a general prohibition on the carrying of concealed weapons by permitted individuals. Pursuant to specific grants of statutory authority, however, it is my opinion that colleges and universities may regulate the conduct of students and employees to prohibit them from carrying concealed weapons on campus.
    Applicable Law and Discussion
    The right of a citizen, with a properly issued permit, to carry a concealed handgun is considered universal within the Commonwealth, subject to limited constraints.1 The General Assembly specifically has set out those places where the carrying of a concealed handgun is prohibited: (1) places of worship;2 (2) courthouses;3 (3) elementary through high schools;4 (4) places licensed for on-premises alcoholic beverage consumption;5 and (4) such private property as may be prohibited by the owner. The right to carry openly has not been revoked by the General Assembly.
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    Students who store weapons in residence hall rooms, who brandish weapons, or who use a weapon in a reckless manner may face disciplinary action which may include suspension or dismissal from the university.
    So as long as you don't live in a dorm, it seems as if a VaTech student could carry concealed.
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