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The author of this blog has moved his efforts over to a new group blog. Please visit The Arizona Growler.

O'Hara Factor
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Evaluating the legal requirements of Second Amendment rights on campus

The freedom issue is aside and clear: the Second Amendment applies to adults on the University campus.

I started researching this issue after students at SUNY New Paltz decided to form a student militia. Personally, I think they're not quite right in the head, as does the NRA. Perhaps people would understand that the term "militia" in a civilian context is not threatening if they didn't mention terms to the effect of "first lieutenant", "warrant officer", "platoons." These guys need to get their act together and simply lobby for individual rights, not an anti-police brouhaha.

Back when I was sending out questions to ASUA candidates, incumbent senatorial candidate Matthew Boepple noted "I believe a state law would have to be changed in order for students to be able to carry weapons on campus. Arizona Law prohibits the unauthorized possession of weapons in state buildings, which includes all university buildings." I was unable to find such a law, including within CCW certification publications. If somebody knows of such a specific law governing all state buildings, please let me know.

With that said, here is the law as it stands. ARS §13-3102 sets forth rules against bringing firearms onto school grounds. School is defined as "a public or nonpublic kindergarten program, common school, or high school." Notice that this does not apply to universities.

ARS §13-2911 requires that "The appropriate governing board of every educational institution shall adopt rules pursuant to title 41, chapter 6 for the maintenance of public order on all property of any educational institution under its jurisdiction that is used for educational purposes and shall provide a program for the enforcement of its rules." The appropriate governing board in our case is the Arizona Board of Regents.

ABOR Policy 5-303 states that "Unauthorized use, possession or storage of any weapon, explosive device or fireworks on the university campus or at a university-sponsored activity" is "misconduct...subject to disciplinary action." A "weapon" according to Policy 5-302 is "any object or substance designed to inflict a wound, cause injury, or incapacitate, including, without limitation, all firearms, pellet guns, switchblade knives, knives with blades five or more inches in length, and chemicals such as 'mace' or tear-gas, but excluding normally available over-the-counter self-defense chemical repellents." UAPD's "Weapons on Campus" policy parallels the Board of Regents.

It seems fairly clear to me that the only two obstacles barring weapons on campus are ABOR policy and any action the University of Arizona itself might take if ABOR was to lift such a policy. Seems like a long shot, but it may be worth going for.

Citation: I found significant help with finding the ARS codes involved inside The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide by Alan Korwin (Phoenix: Bloomfield Press, 1998).


I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but the same statute you cite for school grounds (13-3102) also has a section about firearms misconduct that follows: "10. Unless specifically authorized by law, entering any public establishment or attending any public event and carrying a deadly weapon on his person after a reasonable request by the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event or the sponsor's agent to remove his weapon and place it in the custody of the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event;"
Now I'm not a lawyer, but I think this statute establishes the policy where any public or private facility can post a sign or adopt a policy saying that the possession of firearms is forbidden. The "reasonable request" is usually made in the form of signs at the entrances of public buildings (or bars, etc.). In the case of the university, I think the "reasonable request" is the ABOR policy and the UAPD stuff.
Then again, maybe I'm reading the law wrong and it really only applies to public events and the like.
I'll keep searching, but I'm pretty sure there is a law saying that any public or private establishment can ask people to remove weapons before entering. But, as always, I look forward to being proven wrong. Cheers.
Anonymous Aaron Mackey, at 10:01 PM, May 25, 2006 

Sorry, just wanted to follow up on what I posted. According to the statute, a"'Public establishment" means a structure, vehicle or craft that is owned, leased or operated by this state or a political subdivision of this state."
So in that case, I believe the statute does apply specifically to UA buildings, as they are owned, leased, or operated by the state. Hope that helps.
Anonymous Aaron Mackey, at 10:14 PM, May 25, 2006 

I agree. Even if ABOR lifted the policy, UA could still adopt its own. If UA didn't, it would effectively allow weapons. If I remember correctly, there is no such sign outside the local MVD office here in Yuma, so there's no "reasonable request" in place to prevent weapons inside the building.

Just for the record, I do agree that private establishments have the right to restrict firearms. Also, current law prohibits carrying firearms into any liquor-licensed business (with some reasonable exceptions including the owner and authorized employees), so at this time signs at bars aren't legally required in order to get somebody in legal trouble.

Hi Garrett -- Good post, albeit futile.

A friend of mine actually sent a suggestion to the UA administration in conjuntion with the UA disaster preparedness drill last month that armed employees and students could be of valuable assistance to the first responders. He received no response.

I'm not sure if you were on campus when the terrible shootings and hostage situation at the College of Nursing took place several years ago. Had a student or employee been armed in that classroom, the chance of innocent casualties would have been greatly reduced.

Keep in mind that the average pacifist academic sort is frightened to death of firearms and emotionally unable to even entertain arguments advocating them.

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