Open and Concealed Carry of Firearms on Campus
The following Q&A is intended to be an educational primer on common open carry issues. Specific questions should be directed to either the Department of Public Safety or the Office of General Counsel.
Is it legal to open carry a firearm on University of Cincinnati campuses?
Yes, open carry of a firearm by non-UC students, faculty and staff is legally permissible in public spaces on the University of Cincinnati campuses, although multiple restrictions apply (see restriction details below). The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows citizens to carry and wear openly visible firearms in public spaces, unless that space is specifically forbidden under state law. The University of Cincinnati is a public institution.
Are there any restrictions to open carry on UC campuses?
Yes, there are multiple restrictions on the right to open carry firearms on University of Cincinnati campuses. These restrictions are based on law, university policy or both. The following restrictions apply to the open carry of firearms:
- Firearms are prohibited in all campus buildings.
- UC students, faculty and staff are not permitted to carry or possess firearms on campus.
- Ohio law forbids anyone to open carry certain types of firearms such as fully automatic weapons.
Is concealed carry allowed on the University of Cincinnati campuses?
No. Concealed carry of a firearm is not allowed on University of Cincinnati campuses.
Why are students, faculty, and staff not allowed to open carry firearms on UC campuses?
For those with certain types of relationships with the University of Cincinnati, the university has the legal right to be more restrictive than the law may allow, which means while particular conduct may be legal, it is still a violation of the student code of conduct or employment policies to possess firearms on campus. Violation of these policies may result in internal discipline, including termination from employment or expulsion from the university.
Do other colleges and universities allow open carry on their campuses?
Any public college or university in the state of Ohio must abide by the same laws as noted previously in FAQ #1. Other public Ohio colleges and universities have experienced protests, gatherings or other open carry activities by those supporting gun rights. This type of activity has been occurring for years.
Some individuals from our campus community have reported being fearful when individuals openly display firearms on campus. Can open carry of firearms on campus be considered a form of harassment or intimidation? Is this behavior disorderly conduct, inducing panic, or some other type of criminal offense?
The mere presence of individuals exercising their constitutional rights to open carry in public places where they are legally allowed to be does not constitute illegal behavior, regardless of how this conduct is perceived or received by others. To be in violation of the law, individuals otherwise legally engaging in open carry, must be determined by a very fact specific analysis to be involved in behavior that is illegal, such as assaultive behavior or brandishing or threatening behavior with a firearm.
What is the UCPD’s response when individuals open carry on campus?
First, when members of our university community observe an individual open carry or otherwise displaying a firearm on campus, we request that it be immediately reported to the UCPD.
Upon becoming aware of an individual with a firearm, the UCPD will respond immediately to that area. UCPD officers will determine if there is a safety risk and handle the situation based on that initial assessment.
After this initial assessment, UCPD officers will approach the individual and determine if he/she is a UC student, faculty or staff. If the individual displaying the firearm is not affiliated with the university, is in a public area where he/she is legally allowed to be and is not exhibiting any criminal behavior, UCPD officers will remain in the area to maintain a visible sign of safety. UCPD officers will continue to monitor the activities of those openly carrying firearms during their entire time on campus, and others who may be in the area, to ensure the safety of all and will be available to answer any questions.