An eastern Pennsylvania university has dropped its blanket prohibition on guns and will now allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry them onto campus under certain conditions, officials said Thursday.
Kutztown University’s new policy says that a gun owner with a “compelling reason” related to personal safety may bring a weapon onto campus with permission from the university police chief. Weapons will still be banned from campus buildings and athletic events.
Kutztown, one of 14 state-owned universities in Pennsylvania, made the change after lawyers concluded that an outright ban was legally unenforceable, according to Kenn Marshall, a spokesman for the State System of Higher Education.
The State System had encouraged Kutztown and the other state-owned universities to re-examine their weapons policies with an eye toward changing them if they included blanket prohibitions, he said.
“We are always looking at our policies to make sure they are appropriate,” Marshall said. “The legal advice that the university received was that an outright weapons ban, a complete weapons ban, would not withstand legal muster. … Our properties are public properties and there is just so far you can go” before running afoul of the Second Amendment.
He said the legal opinion came from attorneys for the State System as well as from the Office of General Counsel, the legal arm of the governor’s office. A spokesman for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett did not immediately have any information on the advice from the governor’s lawyers.
Other state-owned universities have looked at their weapons policies, Marshall said, but he wasn’t immediately aware of any others that had made changes.
He said he was “not aware of any complaint, not aware of any pressure that anyone put on” to drop the weapons ban.
Kutztown President F. Javier Cevallos signed off on the change April 19. It was first reported Thursday by The Morning Call newspaper of Allentown.
A Kutztown university spokesman did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.