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Ohio State Can’t Ban Guns In Locked Cars On Campus, Suit Argues

Ohio State University is not only out of step with other public universities in the state regarding its policies on gun possession – it also violates state law, according to a lawsuit filed against OSU last week.

The university can’t prohibit storing guns in a locked car on campus or carrying at off-campus university events, Students for Concealed Carry and Ohioans for Concealed Carry said in the suit.

Four university policies forbid the lawful possession of a firearm, the suit said: the student code of conduct, human resources policy, the recreation department’s standards of conduct and the handbook for residence halls.

Only the Legislature has the authority to regulate gun use, Zach Zalneraitis, public relations director for Students for Concealed Carry, told The College Fix. Ohio law bans concealed handguns in places “owned or leased” by colleges “unless the handgun is in a locked motor vehicle or the licensee is in the immediate process of placing the handgun in a locked motor vehicle.”

Zalneraitis said his group is confident it will prevail in court OSU’s rules are in clear violation of state law.


The student group said in a press release that OSU’s campus gun ban “disarms students to and from campus, leaving them vulnerable to violent crime on their commute in what is historically a high crime area, the University District.”

Owing to “certain provisions in the Student Code of Conduct,” even a student lawfully storing a gun in a vehicle “could face administrative sanctions from the university including expulsion,” the release said.

The student code prohibits not only the carrying of guns but the storage of guns on campus, which the suit says violates state law allowing people to keep guns in a locked car.

The code also gives the university jurisdiction over students even at off-campus events, meaning that the prohibition on concealed carry extends beyond the university, the suit claims.

Students breaking the rules can face suspension or expulsion, a sanction the plaintiffs find too harsh.

In response to the lawsuit, OSU spokesman Gary Lewis told The College Fix that the university is committed to a safe environment and that its policies comply with the law. Additionally, he said the university’s policies are similar to other universities in the state.

Gun policy on campus varies slightly at Ohio public universities, but some schools allow guns to be kept in locked cars and others are ambiguous in their off-campus carrying policy.

At Kent State University, guns are allowed to be kept in a locked car, but they are not allowed to be carried at off-campus university events “unless permitted under Ohio Revised Code,” according to an emailed statement from a university spokesperson.

The University of Toledo permits gun owners to keep their guns locked in a vehicle on campus. Cleveland State University follows the same policy.

A spokesperson for Ohio University told The College Fix that the university police enforce state law, which bans guns on campus except in a locked car.

The Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence supports the university’s efforts to keep guns off campus, specifically keeping guns out of cars on campus, founder Toby Hoover told The College Fix.

College Fix contributor Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.

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IMAGES: Scott Beale/Laughing Squid, Internet screenshot

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