News Column

Gov. Corbett Directed Kutztown Gun Review

May 10, 2013

Matthew Assad

The directive that prompted Kutztown University to allow people to carry guns on campus came from Gov. Tom Corbett's administration.

Corbett's office of General Counsel directed all 14 state-owned universities to review their policies restricting guns on campus to determine whether the policies would withstand constitutional muster, said Kutztown University spokesman Matt Santos.

"Within the past year, the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel advised the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) that a blanket prohibition against the possession of weapons on campus is legally unenforceable," said University President F. Javier Cevallos.

"As a result, the presidents of the 14 PASSHE institutions were advised by PASSHE's legal team to review current weapons policies to ensure that they are defensible in a court of law.

The Office of General Counsel and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are expected to issue statements later today to clarify their positions.

Kutztown University on Thursday became the first state university to announce that it was allowing guns to be carried on campus. In doing so, Kutztown put itself at ground zero of the gun debate, bringing cheers from Second Amendment advocates, but anger from gun control advocates who say guns will only make college campuses more unsafe.

The revision, which took effect April 19, replaces a blanket prohibition of weapons on university premises with a policy allowing people with proper permits to carry weapons outdoors on campus and with permission inside buildings.

"I can assure you that we have done everything to implement the strongest policy possible, while staying in compliance with constitutional rights," Cevallos said.

Kutztown University spokesman Matt Santos said the new policy is unrelated to a recent rash of crime on and around campus.

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