An Updated List of States That Allow Campus Carry
Some states allow concealed carry gun policies on college campuses, others prohibit it, and the rest leave the decision up to each school. Where does your state fall?
UPDATE: This article, originally posted in Aug. 2017, has been updated to reflect policy changes made in some states. Most of the data below has been pulled from research conducted by BestColleges.com, which was last updated in July 2022. ALWAYS check with your state legislature for the most up-to-date laws and policies.
With things changing so quickly these days, you’d be forgiven for wondering: Which states allow concealed gun policies on college campuses?
To make things easy for you, Campus Safety has compiled a running list of states that allow concealed handguns on campus for the public to reference. We’ll keep this as up-to-date as possible (to the best of our ability) as things change. In fact, although West Virginia law currently allows public colleges and universities to prohibit guns on their campuses, in February, Governor Jim Justice said he plans to sign into law a concealed campus carry bill passed by the House in an 84-14 vote. Therefore, additional updates will likely be made in the near future.
Unfortunately, things aren’t quite black and white, so we’re also listing states that allow colleges to make their own concealed carry policies as well as states that expressly ban concealed carry on college campuses. Here’s the breakdown.
States That Allow Campus Carry
(Editor’s Note: There are many differences in each state’s law that make concealed carry policies different. Kansas, for instance, allows public colleges to ban guns in campus buildings if signs are posted at every entrance explicitly stating weapons are prohibited, and Wisconsin allows colleges to prohibit guns from campus buildings as well. Additional policies are noted alongside the applicable state.)
- Mississippi; legislation passed in 2011 created an exception to allow concealed carry on college campuses for those who have taken a voluntary course on safe handling and use of firearms by a certified instructor
- Oregon; in 2012, the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission voted unanimously to ban weapons in campus buildings at all seven state colleges and universities, except for active-duty military personnel and law enforcement, or some schools with written permission
- Tennessee; Tennessee allows faculty members with licenses to carry weapons on campus but the law does not extend to students or the general public
- Utah; Utah is the only state to have a statute specifically naming public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry
States That Leave Campus Carry Decisions Up to Each College/University
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States That Prohibit Campus Carry
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
It should be noted that while most states prohibit campus carry or leave it up to individual schools, some states allow guns to be locked in cars on campus, including Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. The map below, created by ArmedCampuses.org, reflects this data. Be sure to check out this map on their website as it is interactive.
Whether or not you live or work in a state that allows campus carry, recent history has shown many states are becoming more flexible in their permitting laws overall. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself and stay up-to-date on concealed carry laws and statistics since it continues to affect so many campuses and schools.
What If Campus Carry Comes to Your State?
If your campus is looking to create a concealed carry policy or may need to in the future, check out our Roadmap for Colleges Creating Concealed Carry Policies on Campus.
Additionally, here’s some advice on best practices from retired Lieutenant John Weinstein of the Northern Virginia Community College Police Department.
We hope these lists of states that allow guns on campus are helpful, and we encourage our readers to let us know if any of these lists need to be amended. We feel strongly that information on individual states’ concealed carry policies, also known as campus carry policies, should be easily available to the public so people can stay informed.
Again, always check with your state legislature for the most up-to-date campus concealed carry policies.
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