Troy Allows Guns on Campus in Vehicles

by Emily Mosier

A new state law has prompted Troy University to update its campus policies to allow students to keep guns in their vehicles, provided gun owners keep the weapons out of sight and in locked compartments. 

Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill 272 in March, making Alabama the 22nd state to legalize the concealed carry of a pistol without a permit. The legislation, which took effect January 1, contains a small section requiring that public universities and colleges allow students, staff, faculty and visitors to keep firearms in their vehicles while on campus. 

“Unlike states who are doing everything in their power to make it harder for law-abiding citizens, Alabama is reaffirming our commitment to defending our Second Amendment rights,” Ivey said in statement.

Previously, the university did not allow any weapons on campus whatsoever. 

“I don’t want guns on campus,” said George Beaudry, Chief of Campus Police. “I think bringing guns on campus has the potential to increase the number of firearms offenses that could be committed.”

            Hudson Brown, a freshman criminal justice major from Monroeville, Alabama is a gun owner who lives off-campus. While Brown disagrees with the legalization of permitless concealed carry, he plans to keep his firearm locked in his vehicle now that it is legal to do so. 

“It’s safer to have it on you than not,” Brown said. “Overall, the policy doesn’t bother me as long as people obey the rules, but I don’t know if people will obey it.”

“I worry about if something’s going down on campus, like an argument, they could have a gun right there in their vehicle,” Brown added.

Chief Beaudry was among the university officials and administrators who updated Troy University’s gun policy, approved by University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, to ensure it complies with the new state law.

Guns are still not  permitted anywhere else on campus or in the university buildings. If the weapon is not a pistol but is used for hunting, the owner may still keep it locked and out of sight in their vehicle if they have a hunting license and it is currently a hunting season . The penalty for students violating the weapons policy is dismissal from the university and possibly expulsion. Visitors can be permanently banned.

The only object students may carry with them outside of their vehicles for protection is pepper spray.

The new gun policy comes as the most recent Clery report, a product of a federal act requiring campus crime reporting, shows a slight rise in firearms being found on campus. The number of such incidences rose to 1 in 2021, the most recent report, from 0 in 2020. Beaudry told The Tropolitan in October 2022 that, at the time of the interview, there had been 5 gun charges made in the previous three months.

Now, when students have guns in their vehicles, even if they’re not stored correctly, such offenses will no longer be logged as crimes on the Clery report because they are merely violations of campus policy.

“If we see issues where guns are on campus outside of these specifications, I’m going to do everything in my power to get that violation before student services and hope that the swiftest and strictest penalty that is allowable takes place,” Chief Beaudry said.

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