Approved by:

The President


Issued    -- August 22, 2018

Revised   -- August 22, 2018

Reviewed -- August 2, 2019

Related Policies:

Code of Student Conduct; Crime Reporting and Response Policy; Demonstrations Policy; Employee Responsibility Policy; Emergency Preparedness, Reporting, Response and Recovery Policy

Additional References:

Safety First, Safety Always

Responsible Official:

Associate Vice President for Emergency Management and Public Safety tel. (202) 319-5111

I. Policy Statement


The Catholic University of America is committed to the safety and security of the University community and guests to campus. Pursuant to that commitment, the University prohibits the use, possession, sale, transfer, transport or storage of any Firearms, Explosives, Weapons, or Fireworks on campus other than per the limited exceptions set forth in this policy.

This policy applies to all areas of campus and all property owned, leased or controlled by the University. This includes items stored or kept in private vehicles parked on University owned, leased or controlled property.

This policy applies to all members of the University community (students, staff and faculty) as well as to guests to campus. The prohibition exists whether or not an individual possess a federal or state license to possess or carry a weapon.

II. Definitions


A. Explosives mean any chemical compound or mixture combined in such a way that ignition or detonation may cause sudden generation of highly heated gases or particles capable of producing a destructive effect. This includes, but is not limited to firecrackers/fireworks, black powder, dynamite, plastic explosive, any improvised compound or device with the same properties, and any detonating device.

B. Firearms mean any gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, handgun, air gun, blowgun or paint gun designed to fire bullets, BBs, pellets, shots, darts, paint balls, flares, regardless of the propellant used. Firearms includes stun guns, simulated or replica firearms, and Firearm ammunition and materials for constructing ammunition.

C. Fireworks mean any device for producing a noise, light or a similar display by the combustion of explosive or flammable materials. Fireworks include but are not limited to firecrackers, bottle rockets, and skyrockets.

D. Knife means an instrument consisting of a thin blade with a sharp edge and/or point affixed to a handle. Knife includes, but is not limited to, daggers, stilettos, hunting knives, switchblades, swords, spears, throwing knives or stars, hatchets, and axes, regardless of whether the item is considered decorative. Knife, for the purposes of this policy, does not include penknives, pocketknives or multi-tools if such objects have a blade or cutting surface that is 3 inches in length or less.

E. Weapons mean objects that pose a potential hazard to the safety or health of others, including:

  1. Any instrument of combat;
  2. Any object not designed as an instrument of combat but carried or used for the purpose of inflicting or threatening bodily injury or damaging/destroying University property or the property of others; and
  3. Any simulated weapons or objects that could be construed as weapons.

Examples include, but are not limited to martial arts style weapons, maces, black jacks, bludgeons, bows, crossbows, arrows, slingshots, metallic knuckles, and Billy clubs.

III. Prohibitions


The University prohibits the use, possession, sale, transfer, transport or storage of any Firearms, Explosives, Weapons, or Fireworks (as defined above) on campus other than per the limited exceptions set forth below.

IV. Exceptions


This policy is not intended to prohibit members of the University community or guests from carrying pepper spray or similar devices, consistent with D.C. Law, carried for personal protection on or off-campus. Individuals are responsible for using good judgment with respect to the display of such devices.

An exception to this policy is granted to Public Safety Officers who have been specifically commissioned by law to be armed in connection with their employment, and to authorized law enforcement officers or military personnel while on campus in performance of their official duties. Off-duty law enforcement officers are permitted to carry firearms or weapons while on campus, but are asked to notify the Department of Public Safety in advance of their visit to campus.

An exception to this policy is granted for use of starting pistols at athletic events, use of replicas in connection with authorized military drills by ROTC, theatrical performances sponsored by the University, fencing or martial arts classes, University events where a color guard is presented, and University events with licensed fireworks displays.

V. Reporting


Any member of the University community or guest who observes an individual possessing or using items prohibited by this policy, or who witnesses a threat or act of violence, immediately should report the activity to the Department of Public Safety at tel. (202) 319-5111 per the University's Crime Reporting and Response Policy.

VI. Violations


Violations of this policy are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, expulsion, and temporary or permanent removal from campus. Violations also may subject the individual to criminal or civil liability.