Five of Pennsylvania’s state universities — Kutztown, Shippensburg, Edinboro, Slippery Rock and Millersville — will now allow students to carry firearms at school, due to advice from attorneys in the governor’s office and state higher education office claiming that “blanket firearms bans were vulnerable to constitutional challenge and exposed the universities” to lawsuits. Penn State, the largest university in the state, is maintaining its ban on weapons on campus, with exceptions for hunting or other recreational firearms stored with police.
Last year, a similar narrative played out in Colorado, when the state Supreme Court held that students with concealed carry permits must be allowed to carry weapons on campus due to a state law. University of Colorado’s Boulder and Colorado springs campuses reacted by creating special dorms for students wishing to keep a concealed weapon in their room, but no one wanted to live in these dorms as of late last year.
Under the federal Constitution, at least as interpreted by the five conservative justices in District of Columbia v. Heller, guns may be banned “in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”