At most colleges, there is a rule that only specific individuals, such as licensed law enforcement agents, can carry guns. This is a way of trying to ensure a safe atmosphere for young people who are uniquely vulnerable.
Campuses, therefore, are usually a type of “gun-free” zones that present themselves as safer than others. Even people with concealed carry permits and training aren’t allowed to carry there without specific authorization.
What happens if you take a gun onto a college campus?
There are a few things that may happen, depending on the campus and the situation in which you are discovered with a firearm.
First, if you are caught with a concealed carry license and firearm in a passive situation, such as sitting down to lunch with your college-aged child, you could just be asked to leave the premises. It’s reasonable that some people won’t know about the rule not to bring a firearm onto the campus, and most security agents or school officials give people the benefit of the doubt when they’re not causing any trouble.
You should know, though, that the school may call the authorities. If you’re asked to leave and do not, or if you aren’t given the benefit of the doubt, you could face police intervention, a heavy fine and even time in jail.
There are many arguments for “campus carry,” which would include legislation to allow people to carry guns on campus, but these arguments are null without that legislation passed. Until then, if you’re stopped on campus and have a weapon, it’s in your best interests to listen to the campus’s rules and to leave willingly, if allowed.
If you do end up facing charges, assert your right to remain silent and call an attorney for assistance right away.