Concealed Carry on a College Campus

Concealed Carry on a College Campus

This is a discussion on Concealed Carry on a College Campus within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently graduated from an a college in Pennsylvania that shall remain anonymous. The school is a state school like Pitt (University of Pittsburgh) and ...

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Thread: Concealed Carry on a College Campus

  1. #1
    Member Array longo244's Avatar
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    Concealed Carry on a College Campus

    I recently graduated from an a college in Pennsylvania that shall remain anonymous. The school is a state school like Pitt (University of Pittsburgh) and Penn State. During the last several weeks of school several faculty members wrote letters to the editor of the campus newspaper about students and faculty members carrying handguns on campus. The first letter was written to advocate licensed carry permit holders carrying on campus. The first rebuttal to this letter contained several quotes from the chief of police. In short, he stated that "carry of firearms by students is strictly prohibited and illegal...bla bla bla."

    This is where my confusion begins and please post comments as I am looking for clarification here. I understand the concealed carry laws in the state of Pennsylvania to prohibit the carry of firearms in 3 major venues:

    1. State Parks
    2. Court Houses
    3. Elementary and Secondary Education Schools

    The college I attended does not fall into any of those categories. The college is, however, private property. I understand that if a property owner does not wish to allow concealed firearms on their property they must post signs that are visible for all to see. At this point the property owner can only ask a person carrying a firearm to leave and not return with their gun. At this point the individual must obey the request but the property owner has no legal recourse against the individual as no law was broken.

    The college had no such signs. The student handbook had a brief section stating that firearms were prohibited in campus residence halls (no mention of classroom buildings) and that campus police had provisions for any students wishing to keep hunting or sporting firearms. The firearms could be checked in or out as often as desired as the campus police station was open 24/7.

    I lived in an off campus apartment and I have a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry permit. Why is it "illegal" for me to carry a handgun on campus??? After witnessing news of the Virginia Tech Massacre I don't feel safe on a college campus. Furthermore I have the right to carry my gun wherever I please aside from the 3 areas listed above. Who are the officials at ******* University to deny me that right???

    I am looking for clarification on two major issues.

    1. Private Property: Is it "illegal", meaning that one can be arrested and charged with a crime, to carry on private property where "NO GUNS" signs are in place? If so, please provide evidence.

    2. College Campuses: Yes, I know with all the hype in the news many have the preconceived idea in their heads that concealed carry is absolutely prohibited on college campuses. I'm not sure about other states but in Pennsylvania I don't see how this could be true. If carry on campus is somehow expressly banned in Pennsylvania please show me where I can read about this.

    I've obtained most of my information from several pamphlets available at the county sheriff's office where I obtained my concealed permit as well as handgunlaw.us and other internet resources. I may be completely off base in my interpretation of the law on these issues. Please feel free to correct me.

    Thanks!!!


  2. #2
    Member Array BlackJack's Avatar
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    Check with your State Attorney General. In some states the Board of Regents have the powers to enact “laws” that are applicable to the campuses under their jurisdiction. If this is the case in PA, and I do not know whether it is or not, then it may indeed be illegal to have a weapon on campus. I know that this is the case here in Colorado and as a result there are one or two campuses that do allow CCW while the vast majority do not. If I were to carry on campus at CU Boulder I would be committing a crime while I would not be committing a crime at Colorado State University at Fort Collins.

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    Senior Member Array MR D's Avatar
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    you state in you post that it "is a state college" and later you state that it is "private property" ??

    either one or the other but not both (if you are correct on the specific limitations then the Chief needs to go back to school

    IANAL

  4. #4
    Member Array longo244's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR D View Post
    you state in you post that it "is a state college" and later you state that it is "private property" ??

    either one or the other but not both (if you are correct on the specific limitations then the Chief needs to go back to school

    IANAL
    "state school" in that it receives money from the state. The fact that the school receives money from the state of Pennsylvania is irrelevant mostly. The campus is considered private property. Sorry for the confusion.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    My situation nearly parallels yours. I'm also a student (at a Penn State branch campus) and live off campus and have a carry permit. As I understand it (I'm not a lawyer or training to be one), you could not be charged with a weapons violation for carrying on campus. As you noted, it's not a secondary or primary school, it's a college. You could certainly be expelled if caught and they might be able to charge you with trespassing since the handbook says weapons aren't allowed, but they couldn't charge you with a crime as if you had carried onto an elementary school. My guess is the chief either doesn't know what he's talking about or was using "illegal" to mean prohibited by policy, not against the law. Either way it's not a smart thing for him to say IMO.
    - Kurt
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