Weapons, Firearms, Fireworks, and Projectiles Policy

Policy ID

032-0048

Effective Date

Friday, January 1, 2016

Last Revised

Friday, April 1, 2022

Division

Finance & Administration

Office of Primary Responsibility

Office of Human Resources (HR)

Summary of Policy

This policy prohibits the possession of any weapon on Dartmouth Property (see definition below) without the explicit written authorization of Dartmouth's Director of the Department of Safety and Security ("DOSS") unless the individual is an authorized law enforcement agent or military personnel engaged in the performance of official duties while on Dartmouth Property.

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

Policy Statement
Applies to: All persons present on Dartmouth Property (including employees, visitors, contractors, and students)

I. POLICY STATEMENT
Dartmouth is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment in which to conduct educational activities for its students, faculty, employees, visitors, and contractors. This policy applies to all persons present on Dartmouth Property, including employees, visitors, contractors, and students.  This policy is one step towards reducing risk.

II. DEFINITIONS

A.  Dartmouth Property:  All Dartmouth property, whether owned, leased, or controlled by Dartmouth, including but not limited to buildings, grounds, parking lots/garages, and vehicles.   For purposes of this policy only, Dartmouth Property does not include non-student residences leased from Dartmouth or rural off-campus Dartmouth land holdings where hunting has been allowed, such as the Second College Grant.

B. Dartmouth Event:  Any event that is sponsored or co-sponsored by Dartmouth whether or not such event takes place on Dartmouth Property.

C. Weapon:  All firearms (including paintball guns, BB guns, pellet guns, air guns, and/or guns that shoot projectiles including antique and military "trophy" firearms), ammunition, gunpowder, fireworks, explosives, incendiary devices, slingshots, bows and arrows, swords, spears, various kinds of knives (other than cooking utensils or pocket knives with a blade length less than 3"), switchblades, tasers, pepper spray, and various martial-arts devices capable of being used as weapons.  Privately-owned handguns are prohibited anywhere on the Dartmouth campus. Note: DOSS must be notified whenever theatrical props simulating weapons will be used on the Dartmouth campus or its environs.

III. POLICY
The possession, manufacture, transfer, sale, or use of weapons by anyone on Dartmouth Property or at any Dartmouth Event, without the explicit written authorization of the Dartmouth Director of DOSS (or designee), is expressly prohibited. Likewise, the possession, manufacture, transfer, sale, or use of weapons is prohibited while conducting Dartmouth business, whether or not on Dartmouth Property, or at a Dartmouth Event. This prohibition exists whether or not a federal or state license to possess the weapon has been issued to the possessor. The only exceptions to this policy are as follows:

A. Authorized law enforcement officers or authorized military personnel, in performance of their official duties, and to the extent they are legally permitted to possess weapons in the State of New Hampshire.

B. Employees legally permitted to possess weapons in the State of New Hampshire, and solely to the extent that such possession is necessary as a part of an academic, research, or work-related activity. Such use must have received prior written approval by the Director of DOSS or their designee.

C. Dartmouth-sanctioned employee groups or events where a weapon is required as part of the curriculum or activity. Such use must have received prior written approval by the Director of DOSS or their designee. 

Anyone possessing, manufacturing, transferring, selling, or using a weapon other than those in the exception categories listed above will be asked to immediately cease and desist and remove that weapon from Dartmouth Property or a Dartmouth Event.

D. No Dartmouth student may possess or use a firearm, archery equipment, hunting knife or weapons of any type, and corresponding supplies, on Dartmouth Property without the written approval of the Director of DOSS and proper registration through  DOSS. All student owned or borrowed firearms, including rifles, shotguns, air guns, and gas-powered guns, and all ammunition or hand-loading equipment and supplies for same, must be stored in the gun room at DOSS. This applies to students living on or off-campus. Weapons of any type, and corresponding supplies, are not allowed in any Dartmouth building or in any student residence in Hanover.

IV. CORRECTIVE ACTION AND INTERVENTION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT

A. Employees:  Employees violating this policy may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination of employment. Employees, visitors, or contractors may also be subject to arrest by appropriate law enforcement if they do not remove the weapon from Dartmouth Property or from a Dartmouth Event after a request from DOSS.  These actions may be taken even if the person in possession of the weapon is licensed by a state or federal agency to possess, manufacture, transfer, sell, or use the weapon. Possession of unlicensed weapons, on the other hand, may lead to criminal prosecution by the appropriate jurisdiction as well as corrective action, up to and including termination of employment.

B. Students: Students violating this policy may be subject to disciplinary action. Irresponsible use or handling of weapons may be grounds for revocation of permission to register, store or use permitted weapons at Dartmouth. Members of the Dartmouth community are responsible for understanding and abiding by all local, state and federal laws governing the use of firearms, as well as the safe handling procedures and risk factors related to the specific firearm(s) they intend to use.  Incoming students who have previously passed a recognized Hunter Safety Course from any state need not repeat the course but must submit a copy of the Hunter Safety Certificate to be able to register and store weapons with DOSS. Students and employees storing weapons solely for marksmanship purposes may substitute the Hunter Safety Course Certificate with evidence of successful completion of a certified Safe Weapon Handling Program. No registration and storage will be provided for rifles or shotguns that cannot be legally used in the State of New Hampshire. It is the responsibility of students and employees to determine whether their guns comply with New Hampshire law before they present them for registration and storage.

Registration and storage are offered for one school year and can be renewed upon request. Upon registration, the make model, serial number, and caliber of the weapon concerned are recorded and filed with DOSS.

Registered weapons are available for withdrawal and storage 24 hours a day through DOSS but only the registered owner is permitted to pick up and deposit the firearm. During certain times, and at the discretion of DOSS, weapon withdrawal may be suspended or denied.

V. OBLIGATION TO REPORT

Any member of the Dartmouth community who observes an individual possessing, manufacturing, transferring, selling, or using a weapon and who reasonably believes that the individual is doing so without the consent of Dartmouth as set forth in this policy, should immediately report this to DOSS by calling 603-646-4000. Likewise, any member of the Dartmouth community who observes unattended items they reasonably believe to be weapons should also immediately report to DOSS the description and location of these items.

VI. REQUESTS FOR EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY

Only under the most unusual circumstances will an exception to this policy be granted. Requests for an exception may be made in writing to the Director of DOSS or their designee. The Director or their designee will review the request in consultation with appropriate members of Dartmouth's administration and will respond to the requestor in writing with a decision.

VII.  STATE AND LOCAL ORDINANCES

State and local ordinances regarding firearms govern all members of the Dartmouth community as well. Community members are responsible for compliance with state and local laws concerning weapons as well as with Dartmouth policy, which is more restrictive. The usual interpretations of the intent of the state and local ordinances are as follows:

  • No type of firearm may be fired within the limits of the "Compact Part" of the Town of Hanover, (as defined by Ordinance 31 of the Town of Hanover) without permission of the Chief of Police.
  • Rifles and shotguns, unloaded, may be carried in hand or in a vehicle.
  • A person carrying a firearm of any kind "in woodland" is violating hunting laws unless licensed by the Fish and Game Commission. Pasture land and open country off the highways, as well as wooded areas, are included in this definition.
  • The use of certain types of guns and ammunition is prohibited. Specific information may be obtained from the local chief of police and game wardens.
  • No one may possess with intent to sell, or carry weapons such as stilettos, switchblades, daggers, or metal knuckles.
  • No one may provide a martial-arts weapon to a person under 18 without written consent of that person's parent or guardian.
  • Specific information may be obtained from the local chief of police or game warden.

Fireworks
No student, employee, or recognized organization may possess or use fireworks on campus. Possession or use of fireworks will result in an automatic fine and may result in further disciplinary action.  Possession use and sales of fireworks may also be subject to federal, state, and local laws.  Compliance with such laws is the responsibility of students and employees.

Projectiles
Propelling any object in such a way as to endanger health or property is prohibited and will result in an automatic fine and may subject an individual student, employee, or recognized organization to further disciplinary action.

Students and employees are prohibited from possessing any slingshot, catapult, or any device to hurl a missile. Possession of such a device will result in an automatic fine and further disciplinary action may result.

VIII. QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS POLICY

Questions about the applicability of this policy should be directed to the Director of DOSS before any item is brought on Dartmouth Property or to a Dartmouth Event.

This policy is intended to assist in the consistent application of Dartmouth policies and programs. Dartmouth reserves the right to modify this policy in whole or in part, at any time, in its sole discretion.