Concealed carry on schools in PA?


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69Chevy
October 16, 2006, 11:00 PM
By schools, I mean universitys and colleges. Is it legal to carry a concealed weapon there as long as I have a permit?

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Rumble
October 16, 2006, 11:07 PM
Best to ask a lawyer, but as far as I know, universities and colleges are not off-limits (only elementary and secondary schools).

Title 18 (912) says something to the effect that possession on elementary or secondary school building, bus, or associated buildings is a first-degree misdemeanor. There is a "lawful purpose" defense, but it's not clearly defined. Check out handgunlaw.us for the quoted statutes.

However, be aware that if you are a student at said university/college, it might be a "kick you out of school" offense to have a gun.

BullfrogKen
October 17, 2006, 01:18 AM
I had one with me at York College all the time. They didn't ask, I didn't tell.

I'm guessing you mean as a student? It surely could be grounds for expulsion, but I don't know of a state law making it of itself a crime. Which college is it?

MadMercS55
October 17, 2006, 01:52 AM
I carried while I went to college, out of sight, out of mind. Never had any problems. I know alot of schools these days have anti-weapon policies if you're living on campus, same for while on campus going to classes. I lived off campus to limit possible problems and went very low key while carrying on campus. You should check with the school in question just to be 100% certain.

Steve in PA
October 17, 2006, 02:10 AM
§912. Possession of weapon on school property.

(a) Definition.—Notwithstanding the definition of “weapon” in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime), “weapon” for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun-chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

(b) Offense defined.—A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

(c) Defense.— It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.

Sunray
October 17, 2006, 02:20 AM
From what I understand, most Colleges and Universities prohibit firearms on campus. Legal CCW or not. Apparently, the management types of private property can do this. Lots of businesses say the same thing. No firearms on company property.

buck00
October 17, 2006, 03:39 AM
from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

The LEGAL break down of PA is this: no weapons on school property K-12, public or private.

Are colleges included? NO.

Rumble already brought up a key point. If you are STUDENT at a college, it’s almost always in violation of student rules to have weapons on campus and you would be subject to expulsion (if somehow caught or exposed with a CCW). Before you argue "but the second amendment....."- by enrolling you sign a document pledging to abide by their rules, or they can expel you.

The other posts hit the other main factor on the head: you can carry on campus very easily. Just make sure it’s a secure holster (nothing that is going to be seen or fall out) and it might be in your best interest NOT to make it widely known you carry.

With this in mind, a CCW on campus is still for legitimate self defense. Consider the context and instability of colleges, especially after hours. If you are carrying so you can draw on "billy fraternity guy" who is picking a fight with you, that is probably a very bad idea. Most college campus fights can be resolved by either a cooler head or by hitting the weight room, not by hollow points.

Steve in PA
October 17, 2006, 08:14 AM
No, thats not the "legal" breakdown. Your failing to take into consideration the "lawful purpose" clause.

Granted, there is no case law that states a person with a CCW falls into the category of lawful purpose, but there is nothing that says it isn't either.

geekWithA.45
October 17, 2006, 08:53 AM
FWIW, and acknowledging that the plural of anecdote is not "data":

* I can (but won't) name several professors at a few universities in PA who are well armed at all times.

* While there is no case law on the lawful purposes defense, there are two or three anecdotes I've encountered, one allegedly in Philadelphia where the police declined to arrest a permit holder who had been "made" on school grounds when picking up their kids.

* Elementary Schools willfully ignore the "lawful purposes" defense. After the sheriff conducted the background check on my wife for her LTCF, which alerted her school district, she got a fairly snotty letter telling her that carriage of arms was both against policy, AND illegal, quoting §912 A & B, but NOT C. I therefore assume that if I'm ever carrying and made on school grounds, that they WILL call the cops, that I WILL have to have a polite conversation with them on the topic, the outcome of which is not certain.

* It is my belief, being an informed layman, but not being a lawyer that Section 21 of the PA state Constitution, which provides that "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.", plus all the related case law that essentially says "we really mean it" is sufficient to establish the lawfullness of the _purpose_ of self defense, a right which is further protected by carrying lawful arms (ie: legal guns acquired legally) in a lawful manner (ie: with an LTCF).

* The only item that disturbs me a little bit is the phrase "it shall be a defense that...", which someone of ill will could interpret to mean, "arrest the man, and let him show his "defense" to the judge." As they say, sometimes, the process IS the punishment.

Beren
October 17, 2006, 09:05 AM
There was at least one cast of a PA LTC holder who was charged for having a concealed handgun on school (primary/secondary) property. I'll try to dig up some links, I can't remember if he was convicted or not.

69Chevy
October 17, 2006, 10:39 AM
I go to PSU main campus. Crime really isn't a problem on campus, but I did notice it would be really easy to get away with (I don't know why I tend to think like this). There are "auxillary cops" but these are just nothing but students wearing coats, very little they could do against a criminal except calling for the real police. It would be very easy to go get a gun and just rob a few students.

Outside of the school its very rural, and I think a meth dealer(not sure exactly about that) stabbed a student to death in a bar a year ago. I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to be packing in case one of those idiots crossed my path.

Rumble
October 17, 2006, 11:04 AM
I work at a state university in PA, and like 69Chevy says, crime isn't a particular problem (crimes here are mostly things like disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, underage drinking, and public urination), but there have been a few violent crimes even in this relatively rural town.

However, just as 69Chevy says, it would be EASY to go on a little mugging spree (BTW, 69Chevy, there was some website I saw about personal defense & safety that it was helpful to "think like a mugger" for a week, in order to see how vulnerable people really can be, and to sort of shake yourself out of Condition White--so don't sweat it), and in fact, most of the more serious crimes here are armed robberies/muggings (I'm excluding sex crimes, because I honestly have no idea how often they happen here). I carry when and where it's legal and appropriate, and simply maintain a very low profile.

The University Police here aren't armed, actually (beyond pepper spray and batons), but they will eventually be. It has caused quite a flap among the earnestly naive students who are simply aghast that the Univeristy would approve giving guns to police officers without the student body's consent.

My thought was, "Police officers with guns? What will these power-mad administrators think of next?"

SJG26
October 17, 2006, 12:05 PM
Quote:
"I'm also a Pennsylvania dweller, and it was my understanding that universities and colleges are not considered "off-limits" areas for CCW. From www.handgunlaw.us, Title 18 subsection 912 says that it's prohibited to carry on elementary or secondary school grounds or facilities, but not higher education institutions (or at least, there's no mention in that subsection). Plus, "other lawful purpose" exists as a rather vague defense. "

My point exactly - that STATE institutions CANNOT invoke(upon students of such institutions especially), even as POLICY, the prohibition of legal CCW - see preemption.
Now, a PRIVATE institution can set the POLICY (still no force of LAW), and we all know the drill there!!:neener:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=221156&page=2

michaelbane
October 17, 2006, 03:18 PM
My point exactly - that STATE institutions CANNOT invoke(upon students of such institutions especially), even as POLICY, the prohibition of legal CCW - see preemption.

Technically, I don't think we can rely on the preemption statute to trump state university anti-gun policies. Our preemption statute is worded differently than other state's laws. Here's what the statute says:

§ 6120. Limitation on the regulation of firearms and ammunition.
(a) General rule.--No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.

State universities are not counties, municipalities or townships. They part of the state system of higher education, and therefore are instrumentalities of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

IMO, the only statute someone could rely on to challenge a state university in Pennsylvania would be the CCW statute, which states that a CCW is issued "for the purpose of carrying a firearm concealed on or about one's person or in a vehicle throughout this Commonwealth."

Also a person could rely on the state constitution's RKBA.

University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and West Chester University have no weapons policies for anyone except their police departments, even if you have a license.:barf:

Rumble
October 17, 2006, 03:45 PM
Michaelbane-

Does the West Chester policy actually cover everyone except university police? I work at another State System university, and there is no explicit policy on firearms except that students may not possess weapons on campus (hunting rifles are excluded to the extent that they may be submitted to the University Police for storage and only checked out during hunting seasons).

If there is a WCU policy, I'd like to see it out of curiosity.

SJG26
October 17, 2006, 05:44 PM
From www.packing.org today:

http://www.packing.org/community/where_to_carry/listview/17732

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/15756034.htm

"A woman going to a parent conference at Olney High School East yesterday afternoon was taken into police custody because she was carrying a loaded gun............................
She had a license to carry the firearm, but was taken into custody when she refused to take the weapon out of the school, said school district spokesman Fernando Gallard. He declined to give the woman's identity, saying only that she was a parent and, to his knowledge, she was not a police officer."

NineseveN
October 17, 2006, 06:04 PM
I've been tryig to follow up on that story since Monday...this will be interesting indeed.

michaelbane
October 17, 2006, 10:40 PM
If there is a WCU policy, I'd like to see it out of curiosity.

http://www.wcupa.edu/dps/Clery.pdf

Note: This is an Adobe Acrobat Document. Go to the bottom of page 6. The student code of conduct also has a prohibition.

geekWithA.45
October 17, 2006, 11:36 PM
but was taken into custody when she refused to take the weapon out of the school,

Now THAT will be interesting.

Normally, that's the "criminal trespass" angle.

Summary:
---------------
Basically, PA doesn't have any of that "posting" nonsense. However, if you're discovered to be armed on private property, they can ask you to leave, and if you refuse, you can be booked on criminal trespass.
---------------

I'm not certain how that would apply however on the _public_property_ that is a school.

I hope to vishnu she's got a good lawyer, lest a bad precedent be set.

Furthermore, even with a good lawyer, I have zero faith in the justice system of Philadelphia, given how a lot of people get railroaded on gun charges there.

Rumble
October 18, 2006, 08:47 AM
http://www.wcupa.edu/dps/Clery.pdf

Note: This is an Adobe Acrobat Document. Go to the bottom of page 6. The student code of conduct also has a prohibition.

No kidding. Thanks for that!

Mr White
October 18, 2006, 08:59 PM
Penn State does have a weapons policy. It isn't a law, but a policy. They own the property and they have the right to determine people's conduct when on that property. I don't know that they have the force of law behind it, but they don't have to. There are many sanctions they can impose short of legal action. Trust me on this. I don't agree with it, but they give me a nice check every month, so I play by their rules.

I've worked for the University for a number of years and know of two people who were fired for carrying guns at work. There were other circumstances in both cases, but weapons policy violations were the formal reasons for the terminations. That said, I know of several people who carry in their vehicles. I don't feel the need carry on campus during the day. Do you honestly think PSU is a dangerous place? State College on a Friday or Saturday night is a different story, but then,finding someone sober enough to carry would be a feat in itself. Would you carry when going out to the bars for the night? You could make the DD the DM (designated marksman) as well. :) But OTOH, a small pistol stuck discretly in a backpack would never be noticed. Its not like there are metal detectors anywhere on campus, and "alive and in a world of s**t" still beats the hell out of dead. But how far you're willing to go is a choice only you can make. Remember, ther are a LOT of anti's on campus and all it takes is one to catch a glance in your backpack or hear a rumor from a friend of a friend and you could be screwed.

Besides, If I was allowed to carry on campus, I might have too many evil thoughts about the idiots who don't know the difference between a street and a sidewalk! :D

michaelbane
October 19, 2006, 11:57 PM
Penn State does have a weapons policy. It isn't a law, but a policy. They own the property and they have the right to determine people's conduct when on that property. I don't know that they have the force of law behind it, but they don't have to.

I would think that they would need the force of law behind the policy. As I said before, state-affiliated universities are instrumentalities of the Commonwealth. As such, they have an obligation to follow state law and protect people's rights under the state constitution, including RKBA. If the no weapons policy is in violation of RKBA (and pretty much anyone on THR would agree that it is), then any student or employee disciplinary action based on a weapons violation should be challenged on such grounds, with a lawsuit and court injunction, if necessary.

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