Policy on Weapons, Explosives or Fireworks


In order to maintain a safe and secure learning, working and living environment, Washington University prohibits the use, possession, distribution, or storage of weapons, explosives, or fireworks by any person on any University-owned or controlled property and at any University-sponsored activity or event, regardless of location. Any implied possession or threat of use of a weapon will also be considered a violation of this policy.

All faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the University are strictly prohibited from carrying or storing in their personal or University vehicle any firearm or other weapons and ammunition on University property, as described above, regardless of the existence of a valid concealed carry permit. Limited exceptions to this Policy are set forth below.

“Weapons, explosives, or fireworks” are inclusive of any device, object or material that is designed, modified, or generally used to cause or is readily capable of causing serious bodily injury or harm and any imitations, facsimiles or replicas thereof. It includes, but is not limited to, firearms, BB and pellet guns, paint guns, ammunition, swords, knives (other than cooking utensils or pocket knives with a blade length of less than three inches as long as they are not brandished as a weapon), incendiary devices, combustible substances, and martial arts devices. Easily identifiable toys, such as brightly colored water guns, are excepted from this definition as long as they are not modified or used to cause serious bodily injury or harm.

Policy Exceptions:

  1. Law Enforcement Personnel: This Policy does not prohibit the concealed or open possession and storage of firearms or other weapons by (i) Washington University Police Officers (ii) Licensed Armed Officers of Washington University School of Medicine Protective Services, (iii) other law enforcement agency personnel with badge identification, and (iv) with the authorization of the Chief of Police of the Washington University Police Department, other lawfully designated security or peace officers while acting within the scope of their employment.
  2. Scope of Employment: This Policy does not prohibit the use, possession, or storage of objects and materials that may fall within the above definition of weapons, explosives, or fireworks to the extent that such use, possession or storage of those objects or materials is within the scope of a person’s employment or work (e.g., radioactive materials in connection with laboratory research, knives in connection with food preparation, construction tools used by Facilities employees or contractors).
  3. Educational Program or Activity: With the authorization of the Chief of Police of the Washington University Police Department, this Policy does not prohibit the authorized use, possession or storage of the above weapons, explosives, or fireworks or imitations thereof in connection with a University educational, recreational or training program where the weapon, explosive or firework is required for or is a central part of the curriculum or activity (e.g., the use of foils in fencing classes, fireworks at the Lunar New Year Festival celebration, the use of knives as part of an art project, ROTC training, imitation firearm used as a prop as part of a theatrical performance). Use of imitation, facsimiles or replica weapons or explosives as part of an educational program or activity should be limited to those settings in which it is unlikely that their purpose would be misunderstood.

Any other request for exception should be directed to the Chief of the Washington University Police Department. Exceptions are extremely rare and will only be considered after due deliberation with appropriate campus authorities.

Policy Violations:

Individuals found in possession of weapons, explosives, and fireworks in violation of this policy will be required to remove them from University property immediately, and some weapons may be confiscated. Violations of this policy may be referred to Human Resources and/or to the Office of Student Conduct for disciplinary action, including immediate termination of employment or immediate expulsion as a student from the University. In addition, the University may refer violations for criminal prosecution.

Effective: March 2018