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Thread: Regarding Firearms on the UW Campus

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    I'm currently an engineering student at the University of Washington in Seattle; I have a couple of questions for the more legally experienced among us regarding the prohibition of firearms on campus.

    Subsection (2)(e) of Washington Administrative Code 478-124-020 (part of the UW general conduct code) prohibits:

    (e) Possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals or other dangerous weapons or instrumentalities on the university campus, except for authorized university purposes, unless prior written approval has been obtained from the university chief of police, or any other person designated by the president of the university;
    Needless to say, I'm not very happy about having my right to bear arms effectively stripped away during the school year because of my status as a student, but I want to know what, if anything, I can do about it.


    Now, as I understand it, there's no RCW prohibiting carrying firearms on campus (since RCW 9.41.280 requires the placement of "GUN FREE ZONE" signs, and it seems to be intended for elementary and high schools anyway). Does this mean that it is only students and faculty who are regulated by this part of the code of conduct? That is, as a student if I carried on campus, I could be expelled from the school, but there's simply no applicable penalty for any random Joe?



    My next question is in regard to the relationship between the WAC, the RCW, and the State Constitution. I know that Washington State has full preemption regarding firearms under RCW 9.41.290, but since the WAC is set by the legislature, I assume preemption does not apply. Is this correct?

    However, Article I, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution reads:

    The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this Section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.
    Since UW is a public school, does the code of conduct come into conflict with this article of the constitution? It certainly feels to me that simply by being a student, my individual right to bear arms in my personal defense has been significantly impaired. Then again, I'm no lawyer, so I don't really know how or if this applies.

    Interestingly, WAC 478-120-020, which also mentions the firearms prohibition, in subsection (6) states:

    (6) Nothing herein shall be construed to deny students their legally and/or constitutionally protected rights.
    So, what does it all mean? Is there some legal basis for the restriction of Constitutional rights on university campuses, or is such a prohibition simply not considered to be in violation of Article I, Section 24 for some reason?


    For what it's worth, I would simply opt to live off of campus, and refrain from carrying when I go to classes, but this is not an option for me - I'm attending UW on a large scholarship, one of the provisions of which is that I live in on-campus housing. :P I guess I can't really complain about the housing requirement, since it's paying my way through school, but it's still doesn't seem right that I'm required to store my guns off-campus, and that I'm not "allowed" to exercise my rights on the public grounds where I spend most of my time nine months out of the year.


    Finally, does anybody think it would be a good idea to try to get the WAC changed? This place is something of a bastion of so-called "Liberal" thinking, so I kinda doubt any move in that direction would get much support. I've talked with a couple of my fellow students who agree with me, but I expect we'd be in the minority overall. Since I definitely wouldn't want to do anything that might result in a backlash of public opinion or legislation against the RKBA, I'd like to ask all you better-experienced and more knowledgable folks for your opinions before I consider thinking about doing anything.

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    First let me start with I AM NOT A LAWYER, nor have I ever taken a law class.

    Now, I too, am a student at the UofW (go huskies, hehe).

    The way I interpret that part of the student code, since they restrict them, but then say that nothing in that section can deny your constitutional rights, then if you are constitutionally able to carry a gun, I read it as allowing you to do so. Now, would they expell you if you OC'd on campus? Almost definitely. They'd find some good reason to do so and you'd have to do a whole lot of legal battling to get back in.

    Now, if you are in legal possession of a WA CPL, then you can 'constitutionally' conceal a pistol and if you're concealing correctly and legally, how and why would anybody know or care? The only time it would come to light that you carried is if you were forced to draw the firearm and if that is the case, you're likely to be able to reason with the dean due to the circumstances.

    I own a handgun. I have my CPL. That's all I have to say.

    Edit:

    Holy CRAP! I just re-read the RCW and if I'm reading it correctly, those with a CPL are exempt from the GUN FREE ZONE laws! Please someone tell me I'm reading this right: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.280

    (1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

    (a) Any firearm;
    (3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

    ...

    (e) Any person in possession of a pistol who has been issued a license under RCW 9.41.070, or is exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, while picking up or dropping off a student;
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    just_a_car wrote:
    First let me start with I AM NOT A LAWYER, nor have I ever taken a law class.

    Now, I too, am a student at the UofW (go huskies, hehe).

    The way I interpret that part of the student code, since they restrict them, but then say that nothing in that section can deny your constitutional rights, then if you are constitutionally able to carry a gun, I read it as allowing you to do so. Now, would they expell you if you OC'd on campus? Almost definitely. They'd find some good reason to do so and you'd have to do a whole lot of legal battling to get back in.

    Now, if you are in legal possession of a WA CPL, then you can 'constitutionally' conceal a pistol and if you're concealing correctly and legally, how and why would anybody know or care? The only time it would come to light that you carried is if you were forced to draw the firearm and if that is the case, you're likely to be able to reason with the dean due to the circumstances.

    I own a handgun. I have my CPL. That's all I have to say.

    Edit:

    Holy CRAP! I just re-read the RCW and if I'm reading it correctly, those with a CPL are exempt from the GUN FREE ZONE laws! Please someone tell me I'm reading this right: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.280

    (1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

    (a) Any firearm;
    (3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

    ...

    (e) Any person in possession of a pistol who has been issued a license under RCW 9.41.070, or is exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, while picking up or dropping off a student;
    RCW 9.41.280 only applies to K-12 Schools.

    Read the last sentence, "while picking up and dropping of a student".

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Lonnie Wilson wrote:
    RCW 9.41.280 only applies to K-12 Schools.

    Read the last sentence, "while picking up and dropping of a student".
    Ah, okay... I misinterpreted it regarding the "..., or is exempt...". I guess I got a little too excited. Hehe, sorry. *blush*

    So, beyond my mistake... what's your take on the way it's all worded Lonnie?

    Here's the actual document: http://www.washington.edu/students/h...k/conduct.html

    WAC 478-120-020, (3)(f) and (6).
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    I'd sure love it if someone who has more knowledge of these things than I do, could explain where the postsecondary schools are authorized to write their own parts of the WAC? I'm fairly certainly I've seen this before, but I recently spent quite a long time at the state's RWC site and came up completely empty...

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    The big question I have is, does the section I have bolded in the quote below from the RCW mean that all schools, including colleges and universities, fall under this rule, not just primary and secondary?

    (1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

    (a) Any firearm;
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Unfortunately for UW students (I just graduated, go Dawgs!), there is no right to a higher education, so if you are caught with a weapon on campus, you can be expelled.

    From what I've gathered both here, and doing extensive research while I was a student, the WAC is not a law, it covers the behavior of members. Remember, you agree to abide by the student code of conduct, even if parts of it are unconstitutional, to be a student.

    I don't believe the WAC, especially UW's, is illegal in any manner. If you want to challenge it, you could argue that there are no public institutions for higher learning that allow for firearms possession, so therefore the state of washington (in funding these schools), is funding colleges that ban guns and does not provide any sort of alternative. This means that the citizens of WA are forced to disarm to achieve higher learning, with no alternatives available.

    This would be a very hard argument, and I don't know how well it will hold up in court. I can also gaurantee that by the time it's ruled on, you wont be a student anymore.

    All I can say is...be glad when you're not a student and can just visit UW! As far as I'm concerned, that WAC doesn't apply to me.

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    Stealth, you have asked a lot of question I was wondering about. I am a college student (graduate student) but not at UW. I have been really wondering about what the actual difference is between the RCW (which I know are actual laws) and the WAC and what the penalties are for WAC violations aside from institutaional sanctions (such as school expulsions).

    Thankfully, the school I attend isn't listed in the WACs. There is a rule against carry, but I have a wife and two children that depend on me coming home at night and whether I choose to violate that rule boiled down to which ethic and moral for me was greater (ensuring I come home to my family or following an administrative rule).

    I wish I had answers for your questions, but I am pretty new to this area as well. Unfortunately, I am still just as ignorant as most people (working to rectify that) when it comes to anything more complicated than the OC-pertinent RCWs and the basics of Joe's book.
    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good" - George Washington
    "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." - Mahatma Gandhi

    As always, insert standard IANAL disclaimer here.

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    Just_a_car,

    No, it just means that if your public or private K-12 school does something like rent a banquet facility off campus, their schoolishness infects the event and you can't carry there even though it isn't school property.



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    elb1179 wrote:
    Unfortunately, I am still just as ignorant as most people (working to rectify that) when it comes to anything more complicated than the OC-pertinent RCWs and the basics of Joe's book.
    It's not "Joe's book."

    It's Dave's book.


    Regards,
    Dave

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    Regular Member eBratt's Avatar
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    Dave Workman wrote:
    It's Dave's book.

    Regards,
    Dave
    Terribly sorry, Dave. That is what I get for dashing off a quick reply and not verifying information.

    Again, sorry about that.
    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good" - George Washington
    "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." - Mahatma Gandhi

    As always, insert standard IANAL disclaimer here.

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    elb:

    By your own admission, you ain't from around here. I guess I can cut you some slack just this once





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    kparker wrote:
    Just_a_car,

    No, it just means that if your public or private K-12 school does something like rent a banquet facility off campus, their schoolishness infects the event and you can't carry there even though it isn't school property.

    But where in that does it say "school property" is limited to Elementary and Secondary schools? It mentions Elementary and Secondary schools, then says OR facilities that are used exclusively by schools. That, to me, includes school buildings, such as all the buildings on the UW campus. I think the only way I'm going to figure this one out for sure is to ask a lawyer and pay up for the service. :?
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    (1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools


    The latter part of this is in direct relation to the beginning of it.

    In otherwords the public or private school they are talking about in the last sentence is the same as they are referring to in the first sentence.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    I too am a UW student and was wondering this same question. It seems to me that carry on campus is prohibited by university rules (WACs) only, and unless a crime has been committed, carrying a firearm on campus is not illegal. If you are a student, faculty, staff, etc., however, you could be terminated/expelled. If you are a visitor, you can be asked to leave campus (and arrested for trespass if you do not). For the record, I am not a lawyer, and these are purely my thoughts, based on what I've read (and hopefully correct!).

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Here is some clarification from WAC 478-124-039:



    (7) Violation of any of the above regulations may also constitute violation of the criminal laws or ordinances of the city of Seattle, the state of Washington, or the United States and may subject a violator to criminal sanctions in addition to any sanctions imposed by the university.



    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    amlevin,

    I've seen that section (7) before when reading the WAC for the UW, but what is it in state law that could make a violation a crime rather than in infraction?

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    amlevin wrote:
    Here is some clarification from WAC 478-124-039:



    (7) Violation of any of the above regulations may also constitute violation of the criminal laws or ordinances of the city of Seattle, the state of Washington, or the United States and may subject a violator to criminal sanctions in addition to any sanctions imposed by the university.


    I think what they're saying here is that just because it's an infraction of the Student Code doesn't mean it also isn't a crime to some higher authority or other law. Which is why they say "may also constitute..."

    This part of the WAC really doesn't apply to the issue at hand, it's just the state trying to cover its own butt.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Think of it this way. The RCWs are laws while the WACs are rules. And I always liked the saying "Rules are meant to be broken." Anyhow when I was at UW, I carried concealed all the time. I carried a Kahr PM9 and since I concealed it well, no oneknew. Yes I was breaking the rules and yes I could have been kicked out, but I was pretty confident in my concealing methods. Now that I look back, I am glad I brought my Kahr, especially in light of the Virginia Tech incident. The scary part is that I actually took German when I was at UW...

    Stealth Potato, I think you are out of luck because you live in campus housing...

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    amlevin wrote:
    Here is some clarification from WAC 478-124-039:



    (7) Violation of any of the above regulations may also constitute violation of the criminal laws or ordinances of the city of Seattle, the state of Washington, or the United States and may subject a violator to criminal sanctions in addition to any sanctions imposed by the university.


    It may constitute a violation is the key. Only if you are violating the RCW's when you are found carrying would this be correct. Also since the city of Seattle can only adopt certain restrictions it seems to me that this is an attempt to instill fear of prosecution to the reader.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Since this passage really deals with one's refusal to comply when instructed to do so by a UW Police officer, the only real issue becomes one of trespass which Seattle has ordinances against. No prosecution on gun charge if person is carrying legally, just on the failure to comply with instruction or trespass.

    In Business, we used to call these the "weasel clauses" for obvious reasons.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    What's unfair to you is that I always carry when I walk the UW campus. Because I'm not a student.

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    expvideo wrote:
    What's unfair to you is that I always carry when I walk the UW campus. Because I'm not a student.
    I'm a student.

    I am a proud owner of a WA CPL.

    I am a proud owner of a GLOCK 27.

    I care about my safety and the safety of those around me as any American citizen should.

    'Nuff said.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    There are only two things that can happen if you legally carry a firearm onto the UW campus "while a student". There is only one thing that can happen if you legally carry a firearm onto the US campus "while not a student".

    #1 - They can demand that you leave the campus. If you do not, then they can have you sited for tresspassing. (this applies to students and non-students).

    #2 - Expell you from the UW on administrative grounds (breaking the rules you agreed to when enrolling).

    That's it.

    Thanks!
    Greg

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    Regular Member thebastidge's Avatar
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    just_a_car wrote:
    But where in that does it say "school property" is limited to Elementary and Secondary schools? It mentions Elementary and Secondary schools, then says OR facilities that are used exclusively by schools. That, to me, includes school buildings, such as all the buildings on the UW campus. I think the only way I'm going to figure this one out for sure is to ask a lawyer and pay up for the service.
    It's known as a 'dependant clause' (nope, not a lawyer here either, just basic grammar). The dependant clause always refers to the original subject in proper English. It's a little ponderous, but most legislators seem to feel some need to write ponderous phrases.

    Example with multiple dependant clauses:

    Legislators notice the veneration for thearchaic languageof the Constitution, but what they don't realize is that it was written in formal but contemporary English, and it only seems stilted and ponderous after two+ centuries of linguistic shifts.

    they = "Legislators"

    it= "the archaic language of the Constitution"


    Be prepared. Be very prepared.

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