Weapons Policy 

Approved by: Senior Staff

Approval Date: July 1, 2018

Related Policies:

Primary Office Responsible for Administering this Policy:

Amherst College Police Department

Revision History: None  Procedures: ________________

Weapons Policy

Policy Statement

This policy prohibits the possession of weapons in and around premises owned or controlled by Amherst College and at Amherst College-sponsored events in other locations.


This policy applies to all Amherst College students, faculty, staff, visitors, contractors, and any other person on Amherst College property, in an Amherst College facility, or at an Amherst College-sponsored activity or event. This policy applies regardless of any federal or state license that has been issued to the person possessing the weapon, with exceptions only as noted below.


Except as noted below, the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts prohibit the possession of the following on the campus of any college or university: any firearm, stiletto, dagger, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, a switch knife or any knife having an automatic spring release which has a blade over one and one-half inches, a slingshot, black jack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance with a similar effect as metallic knuckles, pellet guns, BB guns, mace, and pepper spray. 

In addition to the weapons identified above, Amherst College also prohibits all other weapons, including, but not limited to: open flames (unless otherwise approved by Environmental Health and Safety), ammunition, explosives, paintball guns, replica guns (except as noted below), electronic incapacitation or other stun weapons, and any other object (including an otherwise innocuous object) that the college determines could be used (or is being used) to harass or injure another individual or that the college reasonably determines has the effect of intimidating another individual. 

A. Exceptions

Only Amherst College Police Officers and other law-enforcement officers are authorized to possess firearms on campus.

Possession of a replica gun does not constitute a violation of this policy, provided that such replica gun is used exclusively in connection with a theatrical production. The Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety may authorize other possession or use of a replica gun in certain other limited circumstances. 

In accordance with Massachusetts law, any exception to this policy authorizing the presence of a weapon otherwise prohibited under the law (including any firearm) must be approved in writing by the President of the college. Any request for such an exception should be directed to the President in the care of the Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety. Requests for an exception by faculty members for pedagogical purposes will be approved unless the use would pose an exceptional danger to the community.

B. Violations

The possession of any weapon on Amherst College property in violation of this policy by an Amherst College student, faculty member, or staff member will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion. The college may issue a no-trespass order to, and enforce the terms of a no-trespass order against, any other person who violates this policy.

In addition to the consequences noted above, in most instances, the college will also pursue legal action against anyone who:

  1. possesses a firearm on campus in violation of this policy;
  2. possesses any weapon while not lawfully present on campus; and/or
  3. uses any weapon in the commission of any other violation of law or college policy.

Nothing in this policy precludes law enforcement, including Amherst College Police, from taking appropriate law-enforcement action, including criminal complaints and/or arrests.