Firearms and Other Weapons
Effective: October 25, 2005
Updated/Revised: November 29, 2023
Contact: ISU Department of Public Safety
In 2005, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, adopted changes to the uniform rules of personal conduct that broadened the coverage. These rules allow the universities to authorize the use of firearms and weapons. This policy clarifies when the use of firearms and other weapons may be authorized on the campus and in the course of university-related activities.
The policy was created for purposes of safety and members of the university community should expect that the rules will be enforced with this goal in mind. Activities involving firearms and weapons that are authorized will not be subject to disciplinary action under the regents' uniform rules of personal conduct as long as the use does not violate other provisions of our policies, such as endangerment or injury.
Weapons include any pistol, revolver, shotgun, machine gun, rifle or other firearm, BB or pellet gun, electrical projectile, bomb, grenade, mine or other explosive or incendiary device, ammunition, archery equipment, dagger, stiletto, switchblade knife, or knife having a blade exceeding five inches in length. Residents of university housing may possess knives having a blade exceeding five inches for cooking purposes (681 IAC §13.14(5).
The possession or use of weapons is prohibited on campus and in the course of university-related activities unless authorized through the firearms and other weapons application process (see Office of Risk Management in Resources section below). However, there may be appropriate uses of firearms and weapons in connection with university activities both on and off campus. The director of ISU police and the senior vice president for operations and finance have final approval concerning any use of firearms or other weapons.
Authorized ISU Departments
The following are identified departments where the use of firearms and other weapons has been authorized:
- Military Science: Students and employees are permitted to use and possess weapons as authorized by the military science programs for purposes of those programs.
- Law enforcement: University law enforcement personnel are authorized to possess and use weapons as permitted by policy or by the senior vice president for operations and finance in the course of employment. Non-university law enforcement personnel are permitted to possess and use weapons in the course of their duties.
Other Uses of Firearms or Weapons
The following are identified areas where the authorized use of firearms and other weapons may be appropriate and require approval through the firearms and other weapons application process (see Office of Risk Management in Resources section below):
- University organization: The director of recreation services or the director of risk management may authorize a university-recognized organization, whose purpose includes the teaching of safe and proper technique in handling firearms or other weapons, to discharge such weapons off the campus at club events. The directors of recreation services and director of risk management may also authorize activities other than discharging weapons such as reloading of ammunition both on and off the campus
- Sporting event: Firearms designed for the use of starting sporting events are permitted for use at athletic events.
- Theatrical event: Firearms and other weapons designed for safe use for theatrical events are permitted for use in dramatic presentations and rehearsals under the supervision of faculty or staff responsible for such events.
- Farm: The director of research and demonstration farms may permit the use of firearms or other weapons on outlying farms.
- Research: Possession and use of firearms or other weapons are permitted when they are part of an approved research project. If the research requires human subjects or animal use review, the use is not approved until the human subjects or animal use committee has also reviewed the proposed use and has given permission to proceed.
- Extension and 4-H: Possession and use of firearms or other weapons are permitted when they are part of an approved extension and 4-H program.
- Religious or cultural event: Firearms or other weapons may be used for ceremonies, and functions of religious, cultural, social and honorary groups and events.
The unauthorized transportation, use, or storage of any firearms, weapons and/or explosives is prohibited. In extenuating circumstances, a request for authorization for transporting firearms, weapons and/or explosives must be submitted in writing and approved by the office of risk management or department of public safety. In addition, the office of risk management must review and authorize any student organization activity that involves weapon or gun use.