Governor Corbett has been asking universities to review their policies on this matter, and many schools have, including Kutztown, Shippensburg, Edinboro, Slippery Rock, and Millersville. It’s not blanket campus carry at this point, but it’s at least getting a discussion started.
Students with concealed-carry permits had questioned the constitutionality of blanket weapons bans at state-owned universities, prompting a legal review that found such bans were vulnerable to court challenge.
About a year ago, the state system provided a model weapons policy for consideration by all 14 schools “that more narrowly tailored the firearms restriction, addressing both public safety and constitutional concerns,” said Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the governor’s Office of General Counsel.
It’s always been an up-in-the-air question as to what power state universities had to control guns on campus. Pennsylvania law does not prohibit firearms on college and university campuses specifically, but it’s not clear how much power the state university system has to control students from carrying, or exclude non-student LTC holders from carrying on their campus or in buildings. State law preempts not only local municipalities from regulating firearms, it also prohibits any “political subdivision,” a term which is not defined in the statute. Are the Regents of state universities political subdivisions of the state, given they are state chartered institutions?
Corbett is at least willing to force the universities to start taking those questions seriously, rather than dismissing them and doing what they want. Combine this with the fact that Corbett’s post-Newtown pronouncements on gun control essentially indicated the Governor’s Office would have our back, and it leads me to be quite pleased with Corbett from a gun policy point-of-view. Pennsylvania has a long history of Republican governors being lukewarm to the interests of gun owners, but Corbett is someone I’ll happy volunteer for in the 2014 election. If he doesn’t win another four year term, I believe it will be a major setback for us, especially given the slate of likely opponents are all thoroughly anti-gun.