Prohibition of Weapons

1.  Purpose

This policy regulates the possession of weapons on campus and in all facilities owned or operated by Bridgewater State University, in an effort to provide a safe and secure learning and working environment for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

2.  Applicability

This policy covers all University students, faculty, staff, vendors, contractors, visitors, volunteers, and all other affiliated or nonaffiliated persons.

3.  Policy

In addition to G.L. c. 269, § 10(j), a Massachusetts law restricting firearms and other weapons on campus, BSU strictly prohibits the possession of dangerous weapons.

Except for those persons specifically exempted under this policy or otherwise explicitly authorized by the University’s chief of police to have a weapon, no one may possess, carry, use, transport, store, or otherwise have in their custody or control – however temporary – any weapon while on University owned or controlled property or at any University sanctioned event, wherever situated.

This prohibition applies even to those with a government-issued license to have a firearm, as well as to some weapons that are legal to possess.

4.  Definitions

The term “weapon” (or “weapons”) includes the following:

  • Explosives (including fireworks), rockets or missiles;
  • firearms of any kind (loaded or unloaded), including shotguns, rifles, smoothbore arms, and pistols and revolvers;
  • any frame, receiver, muffler, or silencer designed for use with a firearm;
  • starter pistols, flare guns, blank guns, antique firearms, non-functioning weapons, stage or theatrical props, simulated weapons (objects having the appearance of being used for shooting bullets or other projectiles, or which otherwise could cause apprehension or harm), and replica weapons (objects that are non-lethal, but resemble firearms, swords, knives, etc.);
  • bb guns, air rifles; pellet guns, and paintball guns;
  • any ammunition designed for use with a firearm, bb gun, pellet gun, or paintball gun, including any cartridge, pellet, ball, or projectile adapted for use in a firearm;
  • electronic weapons, stun guns;
  • martial arts-type weapons, swords, pointed metal darts; metal knuckles;
  • bows, crossbows, arrows, slingshots;
  • switchblade knives, double-edged knives, hunting-type (fixed blade) knives of any length, throwing knives, folding-type (pocket style, including Swiss army knives) with a blade length greater than two- and one half inches;
  • weapons unlawfully possessed, carried, discharged, brandished, or otherwise used in violation of Massachusetts law;
  • any object used as a weapon or otherwise used to threaten harm, or any object designed to, or readily converted, to perform essentially the same function as any of the prohibited objects listed above, or any other destructive device or instrument that may be used to do bodily injury;
  • laser pointers when improperly used; and
  • any object or weapon of like kind as those listed.

“University owned or controlled property” means the real property of the University, including land, buildings, roadways, parking lots and all other BSU facilities that are owned in fee simple absolute, leased, used, or operated by the University; as well as the personal property of the University, such as University vehicles, wherever situated.

“University sanctioned event” refers to any program or activity hosted by any University department, program, organization or individual representing the University.  Such events include field trips, athletic events, and student organization-hosted programs.

5.  Exclusion

Bridgewater State University Police officers and other on-duty law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their employment are exempted from this policy.  Off-duty law enforcement officers, members of the military, and others who are legally permitted to carry weapons must have the written permission of the chief of the Bridgewater State University Police Department to have weapons on campus.  However, students, faculty or staff of the University who are legally permitted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to carry chemical mace or pepper spray may do so on University owned or controlled property without specific University authorization, provided that no chemical or pepper spray container may exceed two and one-half ounces in size or be labeled “for law enforcement use only.”  Unlawful possession or any misuse of chemical or pepper spray may be grounds for criminal prosecution and referral for disciplinary action.

Additional exemptions, involving any other provision of this policy, may be granted in writing by the chief of the Bridgewater State University Police Department for job related, educational, cultural, or demonstration purposes; or other reasonable purposes as determined in the sole discretion of the chief of police.

6.  Miscellaneous Provisions

It is unlawful to refuse to exhibit a license to carry firearms or a firearms identification card upon the demand of a Bridgewater State University Police officer. See G.L. c. 140, § 129C.

Hunting is unlawful on Bridgewater State University property and will not be permitted.  See G.L. c. 131, § 59.

According to University policy, no private investigator, towing service operator, or auto repossessor who enters onto University property may be armed with a firearm or other weapon as defined under Massachusetts law, without the advance written permission of the chief of police.

7.  Reporting

University administrators and faculty are required under G.L. c. 269, § 10(j) to report – to the Bridgewater State University Police Department – the unlawful carrying of a firearm or other dangerous weapon on University property.  All members of the University community are required by University policy to report any crime to the BSU Police, including weapon-related violations.

8.  Sanctions

Violations of the law or of this policy may be grounds for criminal prosecution and referral for University disciplinary action.

9.  Policy Questions or Concerns

Questions or concerns about this policy should be directed to the chief of the Bridgewater State University Police Department or the designee.

Reviewed 8/2023 by David Tillinghast, University Police