While guns are more fatal than alcohol, the majority of the states have surprisingly stricter rules for alcohol consumption than owning a gun. Federal law forbids anybody under 18 from owning a handgun or ammunition, with several exceptions. However, federal law has no minimum age for owning long gun ammunition.
In an effort to control gun violence and campus safety, all 50 states permit concealed carry, although many ban firearms from public spaces, including college campus grounds.
State laws governing the use of firearms on college campuses vary greatly.
Campus Carry Policies/Law by State
Alabama is one of a select few states where each college or university independently decides whether to permit or prohibit concealed carry of weapons on campus. Schools have permitted students to keep weapons in their vehicles as long as they meet specific conditions.
Alaska is not strict on campus carry. Institutions can decide whether or not they will allow it. Adults over 21 are permitted to carry weapons without a concealed carry license.
The use, ownership, or storage of any weapon without authorization on public university campuses or at events sponsored by public universities is punishable under Arizona’s administrative code.
Guns are only permitted in public places in Arkansas with a concealed carry permit once the licensee has completed a training program that the director of Arkansas State Police has authorized.
California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act prohibits individuals other than men in uniform from possessing firearms on college or university campuses or their associated university buildings.
Individuals are not permitted to possess firearms on college and university campuses or the structures connected to them under California’s Penal Code 626.9 PC – Gun-Free School Zone Act.
Except for those who have a CCW card, it is illegal to possess weapons on the property of any public or private college or institution in Colorado.
Connecticut has no regulations forbidding campus carry. However, each college or university has the power to implement its own rules.
Campus possession and use of weapons by students, teachers, staff, visitors, and security employees must be governed by written policies at every college and university in Delaware.
In Florida, only firearms in vehicles and those carried for school activities are allowed in colleges and universities.
According to Georgian legislation, public college students can possess weapons with a signed permit. However, they might not be allowed to carry within some structures, such as dorms and venues for sporting events.
Similar to Connecticut, there are no particular laws in Hawaii that forbid the possession of guns on university and college campuses. Individual institutions are responsible for governing their use.
With a concealed carry permit, people are permitted by Idaho law to own weapons at public schools and institutions. However, signs warning of restrictions prevent the use of guns in dorms, residence halls, and public gathering places.
In Illinois, carrying a firearm on college and university campuses is generally forbidden. Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) cards allow holders to transport unloaded, inoperable, and/or inaccessible guns in their cars.
No particular regulations forbid the ownership or carrying of weapons on college and university campuses. Institutions are left to have their own set of rules.
While no particular Iowa law forbids possession of weapons and firearms on college campuses, public colleges strictly prohibit it and are seen as misconduct.
On the premises of a public university, adults over the age of 21 may carry a concealed firearm without a permit. There are only a few limitations to take into consideration appropriate security measures such as metal detectors, which forbid the carrying of weapons into some establishments.
In Kentucky, it is up to individual institutions to control weapons usage on campuses. This institution’s right is not “limited, restricted, or prohibited” by state law.
Only campus police officers are allowed to carry concealed pistols on college campuses, according to Louisiana’s state law. Students, faculty, and other school staff and administrators are strictly prohibited.
There’s no particular state law in Maine that forbids campus carry. The decision to allow campus carry depends from university to university.
In Maryland, there are no particular regulations that forbid the ownership of weapons on college and university campuses. Individual institutions are responsible for governing their use.
In Massachusetts, it’s generally not permitted to carry a firearm on a college or university campus; the only exceptions are campus police officers and those with a formal permit from the board or head of the institution.
In Michigan, it is left to individual schools to control weapons on campuses, but even those that allow concealed carry, dormitories, and classrooms must be gun-free zones.
Minnesota is not strict with campus carry. In fact, colleges and universities get to decide if they’ll ban guns or not. But regardless if a college or university bans guns, they must follow some exceptions. Additionally, schools are not allowed to ban guns in parking facilities or areas.
Mississippi generally discourages most concealed carry license holders from having a handgun in a facility that houses students unless it is to engage in an authorized firearms-related activity. But universities can decide if they’ll allow concealed firearms on university premises.
In Missouri, firearms are typically illegal on college and university campuses. However, those who have permits can bring a concealed firearm but only store it in their private vehicles.
Unless the school board in charge of that particular school directs differently, it is prohibited to bring a concealed weapon into a public school in Montana.
In Nebraska, carrying a firearm on college and university campuses is generally forbidden.
Nevada strictly prohibits campus carry.
In New Hampshire, there are no particular regulations that forbid the possession of weapons on college and university campuses. Individual institutions are responsible for governing their use.
Regardless of whether they have a license or not, it is typically illegal for people to have weapons on college and university campuses in New Jersey.
Campus carry is strictly prohibited in New Mexico.
New York clearly states that carrying firearms on college campuses is illegal.
There are some exceptions to the general ban on firearms on higher education campuses in North Carolina.
The state of ND has no particular regulations that forbid the possession of guns on college and university campuses. With a few exceptions, state law prohibits possession of weapons in schools or at school-sponsored events on school grounds. Otherwise, colleges and universities can control individual handgun possession.
In Ohio, handguns locked in vehicles and people or groups of people with written permission from the institution’s board or chief executive officer are the only exceptions to the general ban on firearms on college and university campuses.
With a few limited exceptions, Oklahoma college and university campuses are primarily gun-free zones.
Oregon has no strict rules on campus carry. Universities get to decide whether they want to ban campus carry.
There’s no gun ban in Pennsylvania. However, individual institutions are responsible for implementing their own rules regarding campus carry.
Rhode Island does not forbid campus carry. However, it is up to the college or university if they will allow students, faculty, and staff. The latest data shows zero colleges and universities in Rhode Island permit campus carry.
With few exceptions, South Carolina college and university campuses are primarily gun-free zones.
According to a public announcement made by the South Dakota Board of Regents, all state colleges and universities must prohibit carrying concealed weapons on their campuses.
Tennessee does not allow campus carry in public colleges and universities. However, students, faculty, and other college and university staff who bring guns on school grounds must store them in their private vehicles. Another exception for the campus carry is for school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes.
According to Texas law, colleges and universities are prohibited from restricting weapons possession, storage, or transportation on campus property and inside buildings by licensed carriers. Texas does not require a permit for anyone older than 21 and legally permitted to own a weapon. Students can carry handguns on campus.
The state of Utah does not primarily prohibit campus carry. It is up to the Utah State Board of Regents to retain some limited jurisdiction to control firearms on college campuses and universities.
Vermont is not strict on gun carry. Each university gets to decide whether or not they’ll allow campus carry.
Citizens with valid carry permits can carry concealed handguns on public college campuses. However, colleges and universities can ban campus carry.
Washington strictly prohibits campus carry.
West Virginia colleges and universities are left to implement their own rules about campus carry.
In Washington, there are no particular regulations that forbid the ownership of weapons on college and university campuses. Each college and university can create its own policies on carrying concealed handguns. However, there are currently zero private and public colleges and universities that allow concealed campus carry.
Wyoming prohibits campus carry with few exceptions. Campus carry is only allowed if the carrier has written consent from the school’s security services and if the firearm will be used during firearm-related activities.
Pros and Cons of Campus Carry
Campus shootings are violent, destructive acts of terrorism that impact communities in addition to schools, teachers, and students. These offenses against student safety cannot be overlooked. Government officials continue to look for ways to safeguard public safety and schools. Allowing adults, including instructors and college students, to carry concealed guns on campus has been debated nationwide for many years.
Pros of Campus Carry
Guns on campus are very controversial and sensitive, even for concealed carry permit holders. Some arguments against it typically take the form of highlighted, unchallenged claims made in biased media coverage, such as the following: students are careless, reckless, and prone to mental illness and self-harm.
Alternatively, a student could not have been able to react rationally to a planned killing spree. Or the ever-present “More individuals carrying firearms would make me feel less comfortable on campus.”
All of these concerns may be refuted rationally and with solid evidence that stands up to close examination.
So, should one support concealed carry permit holders bringing their weapons on campus? Here are some pros and cons of campus carry.
Campus Carry May Help Decrease Violence
In 2019, the College Fix investigated claims that crime will rise in states that legalized concealed carry on college campuses last month. The report involved several states, such as Georgia, Kansas, and Utah. According to the report, all of the schools affirmed that they had not observed any increase in violence following the implementation of their respective policies.
The effectiveness of guns on campus depends on two factors: deterrent and practical self-defense. Criminals are less likely to engage in conflict when they know that certain students may be carrying weapons.
Campus Carry Helps Make Students Feel Safer
Colleges are not the safest places in the world. Most college campuses are very open and welcoming, making them distinctive and risky places. Additionally, college students are not young people for whom the institution has custody responsibilities, security measures for receiving and releasing pupils to their parents or guardians, or regulations requiring attendance.
Colleges are not exempt from criminality; they present special dangers to students. People who have undergone state-approved licensing procedures to be vetted, credentialed, and trained should be equipped to defend themselves and other students or teachers both on and off campus.
Cons of Campus Carry
If Placed in the Wrong Hands, Campus Gun Violence May Increase
The abundance of additional risk factors in college life makes having weapons potentially risky. In a 2019 nationwide study, 62% of US college students admitted to consuming alcohol in the previous month, 35% admitted to being intoxicated, and 30% admitted to using illegal drugs.
Additionally, students who carried weapons on campus were more likely to report frequent and heavy drinking, driving after drinking, and property damage.
When placed in the wrong hands, campus carry may lead to an increase in violence.
This May Lead to Additional Liability
States that have enacted laws requiring colleges to allow guns on campus are coping with the repercussions with difficulty. For instance, in 2015, Texas implemented a law prohibiting universities from banning campus carry. Leading academics quit their positions at Texas institutions in 2016 to take ones in other states, while others have stopped applying for jobs there.
Professors have made lawsuits in Texas and Georgia. The cases regarding the regulations governing guns on campuses were ultimately rejected. However, they show the faculty members’ unhappiness at being forced to teach in environments where firearms are permitted.
A concealed handgun on campus can cost institutions and states much money in addition to possible litigation and faculty loss. These regulations lead to extra costs for campus security and campus safety measures, such as more police and security personnel, metal detectors, cameras, and protective equipment in campus buildings.
Top 10 States That Allow Concealed Carry of Guns on College Campuses
Texas used to be one of the most controversial states because of its gun laws. But with the revised gun laws of Texas, university people have felt safer.
While Texas prohibits colleges and universities from banning campus carry, each college and university may choose which facilities and sensitive places are still off-limits to carrying concealed guns.
Four-year colleges and universities in Texas that allow personnel to carry firearms on campus:
- Sul Ross State University
- Tarleton State University
- Texas A&M University
- Texas A&M University-Central Texas
- Texas A&M University-Commerce
- Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
- Texas A&M University – Kingsville
- Texas A&M University-San Antonio
- Texas A&M University – Texarkana
- Amberton University
- Angelo State University
- East Texas Baptist University
- Lamar University
- Midwestern State University
- Prairie View A&M University
- West Texas A&M University
- Sam Houston State University
- Southern Assemblies of God University
- Stephen F. Austin State University
- Texas State University
- Texas Tech University
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
- Texas Woman’s University
- University of Houston
- University of Houston – Clear Lake
- University of Houston – Victoria
- University of North Texas
- University of North Texas at Dallas
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Texas at El Paso
- University of Texas at San Antonio
- University of Texas at Tyler
- University of Texas at Dallas
- University of North Texas Health Science Center
- University of Texas at Arlington
- University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
- University of Texas of the Permian Basin
- Texas Southern University
Just recently, in 2022, Georgia has finally repealed long-standing laws requiring people to obtain a license, following a fingerprint background check, to carry concealed guns in public spaces, including college and university campuses.
According to HB 280, those with permits can carry a concealed handgun on a public university or college campus. However, the law also said that university housing, faculty offices, sporting activities, K–12 classroom settings, Greek housing, and disciplinary hearings should be gun-free zones.
Universities in Georgia that do not prohibit guns on campus:
- Georgia State University
- Georgia Southern University
- Valdosta State University
- University of West Georgia
- Georgia Gwinnett College
- Georgia College and State University
- University of North Georgia
- University of Georgia
- East Georgia State College
- Georgia Southwestern State University
- Columbus State University
- College of Coastal Georgia
- Augusta University
- Atlanta Metropolitan State College
- South Georgia State College
- Savannah State University
- Middle Georgia State University
- Kennesaw State University
- Gordon State College
- Clayton State University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Fort Valley State University
- Albany State University
- Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
- Georgia Highlands College
Since 1996, Arkansas has provided a concealed weapon permit allowing citizens to carry concealed guns throughout the state. When it comes to campus carry, however, each college and university can decide whether they’ll allow or prohibit students, faculty, and staff from carrying concealed weapons.
All colleges and universities in Arkansas that allow concealed campus carry should follow the same rules under Act 562 of 2017 and Act 859 of 2017. These laws indicate that only those who have obtained concealed carry permits, training, and endorsements from Arkansas State Police-approved programs can carry concealed weapons or handguns. You should always bring your CHCL and valid IDs and keep your concealed weapons near you instead of storing them in a locker or dorm room.
Additionally, state law prohibits bringing concealed weapons to athletic events or any school events with security.
Four-year universities in Arkansas that allow concealed campus carry:
- Arkansas State University
- Arkansas Tech University
- Henderson State University
- Southern Arkansas University
- University of Arkansas
- University of Central Arkansas
As with any other state, Idaho strictly prohibits non-licensed people from carrying concealed weapons on the grounds of learning institutions, whether they are public or private. However, those who have special carry permits can bring their licensed handguns to college campuses. However, Idaho’s gun laws prohibit carrying guns in university dorms and in any auditorium or other large public space with more than 1,000 people.
If you wish to have an “enhanced” gun ownership and carry permit in Idaho, you should obtain one of six authorized training courses and at least 98 rounds of live firing.
Four-year colleges and universities in Idaho that allow concealed carry on campus:
A permit is not necessary for Kansas to carry a concealed weapon. If you are 21 or older and are otherwise legally permitted to own a concealed handgun, you can bring your concealed handgun on public and private grounds as long as you take adequate security measures.
When we say “adequate security measures,” we mean using personnel and electronic equipment at public entrances. Others can include but are not limited to using gun lockers or other comparable storage solutions.
Four-year universities in Kansas that allow concealed weapons/firearms on school property:
- Fort Hays State University
- Emporia State University
- Pittsburg State University
- Kansas State University
- Washburn University
- University of Kansas
- Wichita State University
Utah law reserves the authority to regulate firearms at higher education institutions to the Utah State Legislature. However, the Utah State Board of Regents generally has the power to enact regulations governing the conduct of university and college students, faculty, and employees.
If you want to carry a concealed handgun on campus, your first move should be obtaining a concealed carry permit in the state. While some public colleges and universities allow campus carry, you should expect some restrictions. Concealed handguns are not permitted in areas designated as “security locations.”
Four-year colleges and universities in Utah that allow concealed campus carry:
- Dixie State University
- Southern Utah University
- University of Utah
- Utah State University
- Utah Valley University
- Weber State University
Possessing any weapon with a CCW card in Colorado is strictly illegal. But those who have a CCW card can freely carry concealed weapons. If you are yet to obtain a CCW card, you need to be at least 21 years old and not be forbidden from possessing a weapon.
However, a CCW card does not automatically mean access to restricted areas or gun-free zones. While some colleges and universities in Colorado allow concealed campus carry, residence halls, dining areas, and event venues should be left gun-free zones.
Universities in Colorado that allow students to carry concealed firearms on campus premises:
- Adams State University
- Colorado Mesa University
- Colorado School of Mines
- Colorado State University
- Metropolitan State University of Denver
- University of Colorado Boulder
- University of Colorado Denver
Mississippi generally discourages carrying concealed weapons on campus if you’re not participating in activities that involve firearms, a police officer, or someone who uses guns for education purposes. However, following the state memo, those with “enhanced” carry permits can carry concealed weapons in colleges and universities that permit it.
Concealed weapons or concealed firearm carriers should carry the required identification at all times and avoid bringing the concealed weapon/firearm in dining halls, event venues, and residence halls.
Four-year colleges and universities in Mississippi that allow concealed campus carry:
- Delta State University
- Mississippi College
- Mississippi State University
- Mississippi Valley State University
- University of Mississippi
There are no laws in Virginia stating that college campuses should or should not ban campus carry. The Virginia Supreme Court allows public institutions to decide if their school should allow campus carry.
Liberty University is the only university in Virginia to allow campus carry. According to the school’s rules, however, those who plan on carrying firearms on campus should have completed and earned the Firearms Safety Course certificate and apply for State Conceal Permit. Those with a state permit should carry their IDs and permits with them at all times.
According to Giffords Law Center, Hawaii has no specific laws that require colleges and universities to ban licensed campus carry, with the exemption of students. Brigham Young University–Hawaii is the only university in the state that allows campus carry for licensed concealed weapons.
While BYU-Hawaii discourages personnel in campus housing from carrying concealed firearms, those that own one should practice extreme caution. Guns and other weapons should be stored in a safe place.
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