This issue has been discussed many times on this board, so I decided to put a post up on my blog. I think I covered most of the pertinent points. If anyone has anything to add or disagree's with some of my speculations, please feel free to comment here or on the blog.
I attend Virginia Commonwealth University. If you are not familiar with this school:
Virginia Commonwealth University is the largest university in Virginia and ranks among the top 100 universities in the country in sponsored research. Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, VCU enrolls 32,000 students in 205 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities.A legal question exists in Virginia as to whether or not carrying a firearm at VCU is against the law. The VCDL website lists VCU as off-limits to carry, and it is mentioned in most CCW classes as an off-limits location. This is because of 8VAC90-10-50, a section of Virginia Administrative Code that covers the code of conduct at VCU.
...no person, either singly or in concert with others, shall willfully... Have in his possession any firearm, other weapon, or explosive, regardless of whether a license to possess the same has been issued, without the written authorization of the president of the university. This restriction does not apply to persons whose duties lawfully require the possession of firearms or other weapons.However, this is not Criminal Code, and violating Administrative Code is not a crime. Furthermore, this section of State Administrative Code was drafted by the VCU Board of Visitors, NOT the State Legislature. The authority to do this was granted by 23-50.10.
Another problem with this "law" is that it would be impossible to fairly enforce. VCU is a spread out, urban university, and city property and VCU property blend together with no clear definition. To effectively enforce this law, VCU would need to post hundreds if not thousands of signs deliniating the boundaries to its property. But hey, its all public property anyway, so this should really be a non-issue.
Also, Virginia has a state preemption law pertaining to firearms laws. This law essentially prevents localities and agencies from making any firearms related laws or ordinances. However, this does not currently apply to VCU (or other public universities), as it is part of the state government. VCDL is currently pushing legislation to expand preemption to state agencies.
Further invalidating this prohibition, is a recent Attorney General opinion.
This opinion states:
Governing boards of Virginia‚Äôs public colleges and universities may not impose general prohibition on carrying of concealed weapons by permitted individuals.Further reading of the opinion seems to indicate that universities CAN deny its students and faculty the Right to Carry, but it may not deny this right to non-student/faculty. Even as it does apply to students/faculty, it may not apply when someone is not on the property in the capacity of a student or employee. This creates yet another enforcement headache.
The current state of firearms law in Virginia is flawed, because state agencies such as universities, public housing, and wildlife management are permitted to create policies that are contradictory to state law. Unfortunately, these policies are often adopted with little or no legislative review into Virginia Adminstrative Code.
The VCU issue is badly in need of a test case. My personal opinion is that a non-student faculty could carry on VCU legally. If they chose to open carry, I imagine they would have an unpleasant encounter with VCU police and be asked to leave VCU property (wherever that ends). I believe that a police order to leave the public areas of a public university without cause would be an illegal order, but refusal to do so would most likely end up with a trip to jail and a trespass charge. This would then be the test case that we have been waiting for (and possibly a settlement for the OC'er).
I can only hope that the VCDL is successful in gaining full state preemption, and this issue can be resolved without such an unpleasant incident.