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Thread: Carry at a College Football Game in Virginia

  1. #1
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    I might have the opportunity to go to Virginia Tech to see a Hokie's football game, and I would like some opinion on the legality of carrying at Lane Stadium. I found a list ofrules on their websitethat prohibited firearms at the stadium, but my question is, is that a legal ban? Does the stadium fall outside of the normal rules for carrying at public colleges and universities, or does the prohibition only pertain to students and faculty?

  2. #2
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    I personally feel the ban is illegal since VA has preemption and VT (or any state school) is a government institution. Granted, VT is a quasi-independent but they fall within the framework of the VA State Department of Education.

    There are no ABC issues as no alcoholic beverages are allowed or served in the stadium.

    When I attended the VT homecoming game two years ago, there was not any real security checks. If memory serves, there were no metal detectors and only cursory bag checks. Unless things have changed, you should be able to CC without detection.

    I definitely wouldn't want to OC unless you want to be a test case and miss your game. Also, depending on your tickets and where you park, you could have a very long walk to store your firearm in your vehicle. I parked at the commuter lot off Prices Fork and walked to/from the stadium. Granted, I lived in upper quad when I attended in the early 90's and had classes in Cassell and Litton-Reeves so I was familiar with the distance and terrain.

    The VT Police HQ is close to the stadium but I'm unsure how they would handle a request to store a firearm during the game.
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  3. #3
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    rlh2005 wrote:
    I personally feel the ban is illegal since VA has preemption and VT (or any state school) is a government institution.
    No no folks - VA preemption, like most states, is only directed at localities, not state agencies like colleges. But when it comes to college carry, for sure there is no law making it a crime for anyone to carry on campus.

    But what about administrative restrictions imposed by state agencies?

    When it comes to state agencies, the AG opined on state park carry in 2002 that CHP holders have the universal right to carry concealed except as limited by the General Assembly - see http://www.vcdl.org/new/kilgore_opinion.pdf.

    The recent AG opinion on college carry at http://www.vcdl.org/pdf/OP-05-078.pdfagreed with the universal right to carry doctrine on colleges as a baseline, but then noted that colleges have inherent power to restrict gun carry by employees and students. Unfortunately, this opinion, issued by a temporary AG between Kilgore and McDonnell then muddied the waters by suggesting that colleges have certain powers to limit gun carry of "invitees" under the common law associated with ownership of property. "Ownership," huh??

    Yes, this was a bad AG opinion. But at least it noted generally that the public had a general right to carry, concealed or openly, & that the college's restrictions must be narrowly taylored to avoid unreasonably burdening the right to carry.

    But what about the restaurant ban?

    If a stadium is a restaurant, then open carry is required - but "special events" are not covered by the ban at all. As a technical matter, it is not clear generally that a criminal penalty exists for concealed carry in a restaurant, but it might. It is also a question of fact as to whether a stadium is a restaurant just b/c some vender sells beer somewhere - is a mall or hotel a restaurant just b/c somewhere there alcohol and meals are served?

    My Opinion: At college stadiums where alcohol is served in VA, carry concealed, don't drink, & stay away from the alcohol serving venders in the stadium. Then after the game, take a nice long open carry stroll thru the common areas of the campus!


  4. #4
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    NCAA I believe has banned alcohol from being served at games in stadiums so there won't even be alcohol served at VT stadium. However, if your caught with a gun at Lane Stadium, I expect you will have a fun time with VA Campus police.

  5. #5
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    Basically, the worst that would probably happen would be removal from the game?

    I likely won't be able to carry anyway because I don't like theidea of open carrying in such a crowded area and I don't have a CHP.

  6. #6
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    Well, when they escorted me off campus last year that was it. Actually, the VT cops were kind of jealous of my gun.

    There was an attempt to run me through the on-campus kangaroo court and expell me, but that was quietly quashed and the paperwork shredded. This is not what was reported in many news outlets.

    The AG decision has come since then. It seems to back up the rights of non-students.

    The VT chief of police at the time has quit, I don't know what the new one's attitude is. The escaped prisoner killing an officer on campus this past Fall may have changed it for the better, but I don't know.

    Bottom line, they can't put you in jail but will probably try to say that you are causing a nuisance and "convince" you to leave.

    Once my degree is safely conferred I plan to pose for a graduation photo on the Burruss steps with as much hardware as I can carry.

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