• Premises Safety
  • Report
  • Higher Ed

Guns on Campus: Emerging Issues and Challenges

Joe Vossen, JD
May 2021

Why Read This

The issue of guns on campus presents one of the most difficult risk management challenges for higher ed institutions. Although federal and state court decisions have expanded gun ownership rights, they have left gray areas that gun control and gun rights advocates continue to litigate.

Institutions stand amid this shifting terrain. They must develop effective policies and strategies that balance community safety with gun owners’ rights. In addition, they must consider direct lobbying as state laws are introduced that limit institutional autonomy to set policies for guns on campus.

Learn best practices for developing a policy in this changing environment.

Key Takeaways

  • While the Second Amendment applies to state and municipal entities and therefore doesn’t affect private schools and colleges, some state constitutions include gun rights provisions similar to the Second Amendment that can apply to private institutions.
  • As of February 2010, 25 states prohibited guns on college campuses, and 23 allowed colleges to decide. Utah prohibited public universities from regulating guns on campus and required them to allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons on campus. Utah lets private colleges set their own policies.
  • It’s important to develop a policy that reflects your institutional priorities, allows for effective risk management, and provides clarity to the campus community.

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