Safety Policies

SY12 Weapons and Fireworks Regulations, Fireworks, and Paintball Devices

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Wesley Sheets, 814-863-6054,

Policy Steward: 

Chief of University Police and Public Safety



To outline the Pennsylvania State University Policies and Regulations pertaining to possession, transportation, and use of weapons, fireworks and pa

intball devices on University property.


The possession, carrying, or use of any weapon, ammunition, or explosive by any person is prohibited on all University property except by authorized law enforcement officers and other persons specifically authorized by the University. No person shall possess, carry, or use any fireworks on University property, except for those persons authorized by University and local governments to discharge such fireworks as part of a public display. Paintball guns and paintball markers may only be used on the property of the University in connection with authorized University activities and only at approved locations. Any University student or employee who violates these prohibitions shall be subject to discipline in accordance with regular University procedures, which may include suspension or dismissal from the University.Visitors to the University will be subject to appropriate trespass actions for failure to comply with these regulations. Further, if possession or use of a weapon, fireworks or paintball device is in violation of the law, it will be referred to University Police or other proper law enforcement authorities.


  1. Weapons -- For the purposes of this policy, weapons are defined as any instruments or implements which are capable of inflicting serious bodily injury, and shall include but not be limited to:
    • Any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machine gun, or other firearm, or antique firearms suitable for use; any air gun, spring gun, B-B gun, or implement that is not a firearm, which propels a pellet of any kind with a force that can reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm; any starter pistol, flare gun, tranquilizer gun, stun gun, zip gun, spear gun, dart gun, sling shot; or ammunition of any type for weapons governed by these regulations.
    • Any knife with a blade larger than that of a folding pocket knife; dagger; razor or other cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise.
    • Any striking instrument to include clubs, truncheons, blackjacks, sandbags, metal knuckles, or sap gloves.
    • Any martial arts weapons to include nunchakus, tonfas, staffs, and throwing stars.
    • Any bow and arrow combination.
    • Any device which discharges chemical irritant or tear gas and smoke grenades.
    • Any incendiary device to include flammable liquids enclosed in readily breakable containers that can be equipped with an igniter of any type.
    • Any explosive device to include hand grenades, bombs, black powder, smokeless powder, percussion caps, friction primers, and pyrotechnic fuses.

    The term weapon does not include paintball guns and paintball markers.

  2. Fireworks -- Fireworks are defined as any combustible or explosive composition or any substance or combination of substances or any article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation and shall include:
    • Any blank cartridge or toy cannon in which explosives are used;the type of balloons which require fire underneath to propel them;firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, aerials or other fireworks of like construction; and any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound or any tablets or other device containing any explosive substance.
  3. Paintball guns and paintball markers -- Paintball guns and paintball markers are devices designed and manufactured to propel, by gas or air, an encapsulated gelatin paintball.


  1. All use and possession of weapons must conform with all applicable state, federal and local laws.
  2. The possession and storage of weapons in on-campus residences is prohibited. Persons who reside in the permanent farm residences of the University are exempt from this prohibition and may maintain weapons at those locations. No person shall store any weapon in a vehicle on campus.
  3. At University Park, storage facilities are available at the University Police office for the lawfully possessed personal weapons of students, faculty, and staff. Weapons may be stored and/or removed on a 24-hours basis, 7 days-a-week..
  4. Persons may carry or transport weapons to and from the University Police office for storage purposes. Persons who have been authorized to use weapons for educational, instructional, occupational, or recreational purposes, as authorized in paragraph G below, may carry or transport such weapons to and from the authorized activity. Firearms are to be unloaded during such transport and while in storage.
  5. Weapons authorized by the Pennsylvania Games Laws may be used and possessed for hunting during hunting season by licensed hunters on non-developed wooded and farm areas of University property, and then only when not otherwise prohibited by postings.
  6. Possession of commercially available aerosol dispensers of nonlethal chemical irritants for the purpose of self-protection is permitted.Any use of such devices must be justifiable in accordance with the laws governing the use of force.
  7. The use and possession of weapons for educational, instructional, research, and authorized recreational activities,is permitted under the supervision of appropriate faculty members or conference sponsors.
  8. Occupational use and possession of weapons by employees of the University is permitted where authorized by appropriate supervision.
  9. The Heads of those Departments which have need for weapons and/or their use for educational, instructional, occupational, or recreational purposes must provide specific information pertaining to their individual needs to the University Police at the University Park Campus, or to the Director of Business Services or Chancellor at non-University Park locations.The University Police, or the Director of Business Services or Chancellor of the non-University Park location, will then issue appropriate written authorization which can be implemented by Department Heads as necessary. The safe use and security of weapons for such authorized purposes shall be the responsibility of the department involved, subject to any conditions as required in the authorization.
  10. Club sports teams and student organizations which utilize weapons in their organizational activities must have approval to maintain and use any implements defined as weapons in this policy. The authorization for club sports teams shall be granted by the Director of Recreational Services,Office of Intercollegiate Athletics. The authorization for student organizations shall be granted by the Director of Union and Student Activities.Approval will be granted only after the sports club team or student organization has provided information describing how the weapons are to be used, the qualifications of those who will be instructing and/or overseeing the activities involving weapons, and the established procedures to insure the safe use and storage of any weapons. Annually during September of each year, club sports teams and student organizations must submit a request for renewal of their authorization to maintain and use weapons. Any sports club teams or student organization whose activities involve the use of firearms must also have their request for authorization reviewed and approved by the University Police before initial approval may be granted. Any significant changes in the procedures for maintaining and using firearms must be approved by the University Police. Club sports teams and student organizations utilizing weapons other than firearms may be required to have their procedures reviewed by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety prior to receiving approval.
  11. Conferences having a need to use or store weapons for educational, instructional, research or authorized recreational activities may store weapons at suitable facilities on the campus when such storage is limited to the duration of the conference and the storage facility and storage procedures have been approved by the University Police.
  12. The possession and storage of paintball guns or paintball markers is prohibited in residences halls and student apartments.
  13. No person may carry a paintball gun or a paintball marker in a vehicle on a highway including any campus roadways unless one of the following apply:
    1. the paintball gun or paintball marker is disassembled so that the propellant canister is separate from the rest of the device and the device is empty of encapsulated gelatin paint balls;
    2. the propellant canister of the paintball gun or paintball marker has been emptied of its gas or air propellant and the device is empty of encapsulated gelatin paint balls.
  14. Any questions concerning the interpretations of these regulations should be forwarded to University Police.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for University Police & Public Safety, or the Office of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Most recent changes:

  • June 8, 2023 - Updated policy steward and subject matter expert.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 19, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • December 3, 2007 - Editorial change in "Regulations" section; replaced Chief Executive Officer with Chancellor, for correct title at non-University Park locations.
  • May 14, 2004
    • Added specific regulations pertaining to paintball devices.
    • Permitted conferences to store weapons with appropriate approval.
    • Policy title changed from "Weapons and Fireworks Regulations" to "Weapons, Fireworks, and Paintball Devices."
  • March 8, 2002 - Added provision for club sports teams and student organizations which utilize weapons in their organizational activities.
  • January 21, 1999 - Changed "University Police Services" and "Department of University Safety" to "University Police."
  • October 15, 1990 - Substantial rewrite.
  • February 15, 1984 - Title of "Business Manager" at campuses changed to "Director of Business Services."
  • April 17, 1978 -
    • Under this section, Business Manager and Administrative Officer of the Commonwealth Campus or college was added to the approval process for exceptions.
    • Provision for hunting was revised.
    • ON-CAMPUS STORAGE OF WEAPONS section was revised.
  • March 22, 1976 - New policy.