Georgetown’s board of directors approved a campus weapons policy banning firearms on campus in a Feb. 14 meeting, with signage on the prohibition of weapons set to be posted on campus later this year.
The policy update — known as the Policy Prohibiting Firearms, Weapons and Explosives — clarifies that it is against university policy for students, faculty, employees or visitors to carry weapons of any kind on Georgetown’s campus, at university sponsored events or in vehicles owned by the university.
Though the Code of Student Conduct currently forbids the carrying of weapons, the university has never previously had a policy on firearms applicable to all individuals on campus. The federal court ruling prompted the university to reconsider the clarity of its own policies, according to Hill.
The Senate unanimously passed the weapons policy proposal Nov. 28 and reviewed it Jan. 17. The signage on these policies was approved by a Nov. 1 meeting of the Old Georgetown Board, a council of architects appointed by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts that oversees design review of proposed projects within Washington, D.C. However, the signs regarding the weapons ban will not be posted until later this year, according to university spokesperson Matt Hill.
“We are posting signage in the coming weeks and months that reminds those entering campus about the provision of the law that prohibits firearms and weapons on private university property, including licensed concealed handguns,” Hill wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We’re finalizing the signage and will be posting them throughout campus later this year.”
The update comes in response to a July 2017 federal court decision that deemed unconstitutional a law limiting concealed carry permits. However, the D.C. Circuit Court upheld a provision of the law that prohibited firearms and weapons of any kind at colleges and universities.
“After the Federal Court ruling, Georgetown decided to clarify and consolidate its existing policies prohibiting firearms and weapons and codify it into one, university-wide policy,” Hill wrote.
The policy update is part of Georgetown’s commitment to community safety, according to the policy.
“Georgetown University is committed to maintaining a safe learning and working environment for all members of the Georgetown Community,” the policy reads.
The policy will be overseen by the Georgetown University Police Department. Violators will be subject to penalties including the confiscation of weapons, suspension, barring from campus and university activities, dismissal and termination. They may also be referred to local law enforcement.
While the policy applies to everyone on campus, there are exemptions for law enforcement and other approved cases, according to a Feb. 14 university news release.
“The policy exempts authorized law enforcement and military personnel and allows Georgetown’s Chief of Police to provide exemptions for firearms and weapons that will be used for academic, artistic or cultural purposes, after being rendered inert and inoperable,” the news release reads.
Response to the university’s policy from anti-gun violence groups on campus has been positive. Chris Stauffer (SFS ’22), co-chair of Georgetown’s chapter of March For Our Lives, expressed support for the administration’s concern for student safety.
“March for Our Lives supports the administration’s efforts to ban weapons on campus,” Stauffer wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This is a place of learning and we are glad to see the university take the necessary steps to make the campus safer for all.”