Firearms

Frequently Asked Questions ABOUT HOW THE "CONCEAL AND CARRY" LAW AFFECTS MINNESOTA STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

NOTICE: The following information is provided as a reference; however, it should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute official policy statements of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Please consult law and policy for official guidance on these issues. MnSCU college or university officials with questions regarding these issues should direct them to the Office of General Counsel. This document is subject to change without notice.

Introduction

The "conceal and carry" law is officially known as the Minnesota Citizens' Personal Protection Act of 2003, Minnesota Statutes section 624.714 ("MCPPA"). Find the law at http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/624/714.html.

The section of the law most directly affecting MnSCU states:

Subd. 18. [EMPLOYERS; PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.]

a) An employer, whether public or private, may establish policies that restrict the carry or possession of firearms by its employees, while acting in the course and scope of employment. Employment related civil sanctions may be invoked for a violation.

(b) A public postsecondary institution regulated under chapter 136F or 137 may establish policies that restrict the carry or possession of firearms by its students while on the institution??s property. Academic sanctions may be invoked for a violation.

(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b), an employer or a postsecondary institution may not prohibit the lawful carry or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.

MnSCU Board of Trustees Policy 5.21 governs firearms for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The policy is available at www.mnscu.edu/Policies/521.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

This list of questions and answers gives a quick overview of how the MCPPA affects Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Consult the language of Board Policy 5.21, campus policies or procedures, and the law for more detailed information .

1. FIREARMS. Why do the policy and law refer to both firearms and pistols?

Under the MCPPA, permits are required only for pistols, not other firearms. The MCPPA and Board Policy 5.21 use both terms, because different rules apply to each. "Firearms" include pistols, as well as other guns such as rifles and shotguns. Under Board policy, "firearms" does not include "stun guns;" campuses may regulate stun guns in their weapons policies.

2. CONCEALMENT. Does the law require pistols to be concealed when someone has a permit to carry?

No, the use of the phrase "conceal and carry" is somewhat of a misnomer. Minnesota's law does not require or prohibit concealment of a pistol.

3. POSTING. Why aren't MnSCU campuses posted?

The posting provisions of the MCPPA apply to private establishments; they do not apply to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Board Policy 5.21 addresses the restrictions on firearms that apply to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

4. GUNS ON CAMPUS. Are guns allowed on MnSCU campuses?

Generally, firearms are prohibited on MnSCU campuses under Board Policy 5.21, but certain exceptions apply, in accordance with the MCPPA.

Employees

With limited exceptions, Board Policy 5.21 prohibits employees from carrying a pistol or other firearm on or off campus while they are acting in the scope and course of their employment, whether or not they have a permit to carry a pistol.

  • Employees who are licensed peace officers are permitted to carry their weapon in accordance with applicable law, whether or not the employee has academic or public safety responsibilities that require the firearm.
  • Employees are not prohibited from having a firearm in parking lots or parking facilities, subject to other laws governing possession or carry of a firearm.
  • Employees who are on MnSCU property outside the scope and course of their employment are treated as visitors.

Students

MnSCU college or university students generally are prohibited from having any firearm on any property (facilities and land) that belongs to the MnSCU system, including all MnSCU college and university campuses and the system office.

  • This prohibition does not apply to students when they are not on MnSCU property.
  • Students who are licensed peace officers are permitted to carry their weapon in accordance with applicable law.
  • Certain exceptions authorized by the college or university president may apply for approved academic or other purposes.
  • Students are not prohibited from having a firearm in parking lots or parking facilities, subject to other laws governing possession or carry of a firearm.

Visitors

The MCPPA does not restrict visitors from carrying a pistol on campus or other MnSCU property if they have a lawful permit to carry and are not violating other requirements of the law.

5. PARKING AREAS. Why does Board Policy 5.21 allow firearms in parking areas and parking facilities?

The MCPPA specifically allows firearms in parking areas and parking facilities, and includes those on MnSCU campuses. Parking areas and parking facilities include parking ramps and any surface, paved or not, on which a college or university allows students, employees, or visitors to park vehicles. This includes lawns or other areas only during the period of time they are used as temporary parking during large events, such as commencements.

6. PERSONAL VEHICLES. Are employees prohibited from storing guns in their own personal vehicles or from using that vehicle while they are acting in the scope and course of employment?

No. As long as the employee properly stores the gun in the vehicle, the employee is not prohibited from storing the gun in the vehicle or using a personal vehicle in which guns are stored, while acting in the scope and course of employment.  Guns may not be stored in vehicles owned, leasaed, or otherwise under the control of the system unless authorized for purposes approved under Part 4, Subpart B. of Board Policy 5.21.

7. CONTRACTORS. May colleges or universities prohibit contractors and their employees from carrying guns on campus?

The MCPPA has no provisions allowing MnSCU to restrict contractors and their employees from carrying pistols on campus if they have a lawful permit to carry. A college or university is not prohibited from requesting that a contractor agree to have a policy that its employees are not allowed to carry a pistol while doing college or university work, but a contract cannot be denied on the basis of such an agreement. All other firearms and weapons can be prohibited.

8. CHILD CARE CENTERS/PSEO. Are guns prohibited from our campus child care center? What about the local school district program on our campus? Are campus-based PSEO programs considered "schools"?

Yes, Minnesota Statutes section 609.66 (as amended in 2003) prohibits individuals from knowingly carrying firearms into schools (other than parking areas or facilities) whether or not they have a permit to carry, unless authorized by the person in charge. The definition of "school" includes child care centers licensed by the commissioner of human services and K-12 programs. Schools are not required to post their premises in order for the law to apply. However, if the boundaries of the campus child care center are not obvious, the child care center may wish to give notice to visitors that they are entering a school.

The presence of PSEO (post-secondary enrollment option) students does not constitute a "school" under the law.

College and university officials with questions about campus child care centers or school district programs should consult with the Office of General Counsel.

9. SECURITY OFFICERS. Are campus security employees allowed to carry guns if they have a permit to carry?

No. As a general matter, campus security employees are prohibited from carrying any firearm, whether or not they have a permit to carry. The only exception is for a campus employee who is a licensed peace officer.

10. SUSPECTED VIOLATIONS. What if an employee sees another person with a weapon in his or her possession in one of our buildings? If a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities employee sees a visitor carrying a pistol, is he or she expected to ask to see a permit?

An employee who has reason to believe that a violation of the firearms policy has occurred or is occurring must report the potential violation to the campus security office or other official designated in the institution policy on firearms. Anyone else wishing to report a suspected violation may contact the designated campus official.

Except as related to specific public safety job duties, MnSCU employees are not expected to request to see permits to carry. If there is reason to suspect that a pistol is being carried illegally, the employee should notify the appropriate campus official, who should determine whether to notify local law enforcement.

11. RENTAL AGREEMENTS. We lease/rent some of our space to other organizations or to community groups for meetings or performances. Can we revise our space rental agreements and leases to include a ban on the carrying of any weapons, including pistols?

No, you cannot use a rental agreement or a lease as a vehicle for restricting the rights of your tenants, their employees, or their guests/patrons. The tenant is permitted, within the law, to determine what restrictions on firearms apply to the premises leased. However, different provisions may apply to licensees using campus space. College or university officials should consult with legal counsel on whether a particular agreement is a lease or licensing agreement.

12. CAMPUS POLICIES OR PROCEDURES.  Should colleges or universities adopt their own firearm policies? Board Policy 5.21 is the governing policy for all campuses regarding firearms.  However, colleges and universities may wish to address local issues such as:

  • To whom and how possible violations of Board Policy 5.21 should be reported.
  • How and where storage of student or employee owned firearms can be arranged, if storage is provided (there is no requirement that colleges or universities provide storage facilities).
  • A map or other description of the college/university property.
  • Greater detail as to the approved academic uses of firearms on college/university property referred to in Part 4, Subpart B, 1, or how to seek such approval.
  • Other weapon restrictions. Except as provided under Board Policy 5.21, colleges and universities may restrict all other weapons on campus or in off-campus college- or university-sponsored activities.

In addition, existing campus policies should be reviewed and revised to ensure their consistency with Board Policy 5.21. College or university officials also may wish to advise local law enforcement officials of applicable policies and procedures.

This page revised January 2014.