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I:12:00 Weapons on Campus


The purpose of this policy is to enhance the safety of the MTSU campus for students, faculty, and other staff by prohibiting the possession of weapons on campus, except where exceptions are noted.


A.  Weapon. Includes a device, instrument, material or substance used for, or that can cause death or bodily injury, or damage to property. Weapons include, but are not limited to: any firearm, an explosive or an explosive weapon, a device principally designed, made or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon, a machine gun, a rifle or shotgun, a handgun, a firearm silencer, a switchblade knife or any other type of knife, or brass knuckles, or any other implement for the infliction of bodily injury, damage to property, or death which has no common lawful purpose. Pocket knives or knives used solely for eating, food preparation or distribution, are not considered "weapons" for purposes of this policy unless used to inflict bodily injury or damage to property.

B.  On Campus. Includes all work sites and real property owned, leased or occupied by MTSU, and all MTSU vehicles and personal vehicles when performing state business off campus.

C.  Possession. Includes, but is not limited to, the presence of a weapon on the employee, in his/her motor vehicle, desk, lunch box, locker, a tool kit, bag, purse, cabinets, office, etc.

D.  Reasonable Suspicion. The degree of knowledge sufficient to induce an ordinarily prudent and cautious person to believe that the circumstances being presented are more likely to be true than not. Reasonable suspicion must be based on an articulatory, specific and objective basis and may include direct observation; or information received from a source believed to be reliable.


This policy applies to all MTSU employees, students, guests, and non-students who come onto the campus, except where noted.


MTSU specifically prohibits the following behaviors and may take the following actions: for an employee, discipline up to and including termination of employment: for students, expulsion from enrollment at MTSU; and for all categories including guests and non-students criminal prosecution:

A.  Use, possession, or sale of any weapon on campus.

B.  Storing any weapon in a locker, desk, lunch box, tool kit, bag, purse or other repository on campus.

C.  Refusing to submit to an inspection for the presence of a weapon based on reasonable suspicion.

D.  Refusing to allow inspection of storage areas specified in (b) above based on a reasonable suspicion that a weapon or weapons would be found in such area.

E.  Conviction under any criminal statute for the illegal use or possession of a weapon.

F.  Refusing to cooperate in an investigation about allegations or suspicions concerning the possession of a weapon by a person(s) on the MTSU campus.


The following exceptions to the possession of weapons on campus are noted as follows:

Despite laws which provide for permits allowing individuals to carry concealed handguns, it is the policy of MTSU, pursuant to T.C.A. §39-17-1309, to prohibit the possession of all weapons, including handguns, on property owned, operated or under the control of MTSU. The only exceptions to this prohibition are as follows:

A.  Firearms or other weapons used for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes; or, using a firearm or weapon in a manner reasonably related to a lawful dramatic performance or scientific research;

B.  Persons employed in the army, air force, navy, coast guard or marine service of the United States or any member of the Tennessee national guard when in the discharge of their official duties and acting under orders requiring them to carry arms or weapons;

C.  Civil officers of the United States in the discharge of their official duties;

D.  Officers and soldiers of the militia and the national guard when called into actual service;

E.  Officers of the state, or any county, city or town, charged with the enforcement of the laws of the state, when in the discharge of their official duties;

F.  Any students who are members of the reserve officers training corps or students enrolled in a course of instruction or members of a club or team, and who are required to carry arms or weapons in the discharge of their official class or team duties;

G.  Any private police employed by the institution in the discharge of their duties;

H.  Any registered security officer/guard who meets licensing requirements, who is discharging such officer's official duties.

I.  Any law enforcement officer as defined by T.C.A. 39-17-1350(d) may carry handguns at all times and in all places within Tennessee, on-duty or off-duty, regardless of the officer's regular duty hours or assignments;

J.  Firearms possessed by non-student adults if the firearm remains unhandled and is contained within a private vehicle operated by the non-student adult while the vehicle is on campus. (The President may determine not to allow this exception.)


Any employee, student, or guest must report the presence of a weapon on the campus to local and MTSU police.


MTSU reserves the right to search any area on campus for weapons including, but not limited to, lockers, furniture, containers, drawers, equipment or other facilities, lunch boxes, briefcases, personal bags, personal toolboxes or tool kits, parking lots, MTSU vehicles and other vehicles parked on MTSU owned or occupied premises. However, such searches will be based only on a reasonable suspicion that a weapon or weapons will be found. If feasible prior to conducting a search, the Office of University Counsel should be consulted.

Revisions: September 27, 2010 (original).

Cross-references:  T.C.A. §39-17-1309; T.C.A. 39-17-1350(d).


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