Pennsylvania School Rewards
Attending a Pennsylvania college or university can be not only a wise life and career move but also a joy and privilege. Pennsylvania has some of the nation's finest schools, both for the rigor and rewards of their academic programs and for their conducive environments, recreations, and charms. Students attending Pennsylvania public schools like Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania or private colleges and universities like Saint Joseph's, Temple, Drexel, La Salle, and Villanova have the widest range of choices of academic fields, a trove of faculty members with whom to learn, and a rich network of alumni mentors from whom to draw for jobs and careers. You likely made a good choice attending a Pennsylvania college or university.
Pennsylvania School Weapons Issues
Yet those same fine Pennsylvania institutions all have responsibilities to their students, faculty members, other staff, alumni, board, local community, and the wider public. To carry out those responsibilities, Pennsylvania colleges and universities must maintain safe and secure environments, including keeping their premises free from the risks and harms of illegal, unauthorized, dangerous, and even deadly weapons. Working with local police and prosecutors, Pennsylvania schools, like schools elsewhere, will enforce both criminal laws and school policies closely regulating the carrying, control, use, sale, and distribution of weapons. Students who violate those criminal laws and school policies regulating weapons may face both criminal charges in the local courts and school disciplinary proceedings. Retain premier Pennsylvania student discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Student Defense Team if you face criminal charges, school discipline, or both for weapons violations at your Pennsylvania college or university. You need the best available representation in both criminal court and school proceedings.
Federal School Safety Obligations
Federal law encourages and requires Pennsylvania colleges and universities to promote student safety on campus, including related to weapons crime and dangers. Under the federal Jeanne Clery Act, colleges and universities receiving federal funding, like all of the above Pennsylvania schools and most other schools, must notify the public of safety emergencies, campus crimes, and campus safety procedures. Colleges and universities know that student and parent perception of campus safety can affect enrollment, reputation, and other student and school interests. When Penn State University or the University of Pennsylvania publishes their Clery Act notices and reports, they know their potential impact on their student bodies. Federal obligations and public perception are other reasons Pennsylvania colleges and universities closely police their campuses for weapons violations.
Pennsylvania Concealed Carry on Campus
Pennsylvania is among about half of the nation's states that permit its colleges and universities to decide whether to allow students to lawfully carry a concealed weapon on campus. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that all states permit concealed carry under some circumstances, but that sixteen states ban concealed carry on campus, while twenty-three more states, including Pennsylvania, leave it to the school. A handful of other states require their colleges and universities to permit lawful concealed carry. While college and university concealed-carry policies can change and school officials may give them different interpretations or levels of enforcement, as few as six Pennsylvania colleges and universities, including only Millersville, Kutztown, Slippery Rock, Edinboro, California, and Lock Haven, appear to permit concealed carry. Your Pennsylvania college or university, if not among these few small schools, very likely prohibits even your lawful concealed carry on campus.
Pennsylvania College and University Weapons Policies
Your Pennsylvania college or university has very likely adopted a student code of conduct that closely regulates or, more likely, outright prohibits your carrying or control of weapons on school property. Here are just three of many other examples of prominent Pennsylvania schools adopting strict policies prohibiting students from carrying or controlling weapons on campus:
- the Code of Student Conduct at the University of Pennsylvania prohibits possession of "dangerous articles (such as firearms, explosive materials, etc.)" both on school premises and off-premises at school functions. A separate policy prohibits the use or possession of "air rifles, pistols, firearms, weapons, ammunition, gunpowder, fireworks, explosives, gasoline and other dangerous articles and substances" other than as the university specifically authorizes;
- the Student Code of Conduct at Penn State University prohibits the use or possession of "explosive materials, firearms, ammunition, or other weapons" both on university premises and at off-premises university events. Penn State maintains a separate weapons policy prohibiting weapons on campus by anyone other than law enforcement or those whom the university specifically authorizes;
- the Student Handbook at Villanova University prohibits the use or possession of "explosives, fireworks, incendiary devices, firearms, BB/pellet guns, paintball guns, weapons or a reasonable facsimile thereof" on university premises and at university events. The university police department's emergency procedures allow only its members and outside law enforcement to carry weapons while declaring, "No other persons are permitted to possess weapons (including firearms, knives, etc.) on university property."
Prohibited Weapons on Pennsylvania College Campuses
The above three weapons policies, like similar policies at other Pennsylvania colleges and universities, prohibit more than just firearms. You may face disciplinary charges at your Pennsylvania school for possessing items that you did not consider to be dangerous weapons. Drexel University's weapons policy, including within its university Code of Conduct, includes an especially long list of prohibited items, including "3-D printed weapons, airsoft rifles or pistols, ammunition including rounds, casings, shells, clips, magazines, cartridges, and paint pellets, bows, crossbows, and arrows, brass knuckles, dangerous knives … over three inches not reasonably designed or appropriately used for culinary purposes, decorative swords, handguns, shotguns, semi-automatic weapons, automatic weapons, makeshift weapons, pellet or BB guns, projectile weapons triggered by air, gas, explosion, or mechanical means, rifles, and stun guns or tasers." Be cautious about bringing onto your Pennsylvania college or university campus any item, even recreational or display items, that your school's conduct code could construe to be within its weapons policy.
School Discipline for Weapons Violations
Your Pennsylvania college or university likely won't hesitate to pursue disciplinary charges against you and potentially suspend or expel you if disciplinary officials determine that you violated a campus weapons policy by possessing a weapon on campus or at a school event. The student codes of conduct at Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, and Drexel University quoted above all authorize disciplinary charges against students violating weapons policies. A similar student code of conduct at Temple University also authorizes disciplinary charges for weapons violations. If you face disciplinary charges for weapons violations at your Pennsylvania college or university, retain premier student discipline defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Student Defense Team for your best possible disciplinary outcome. Preserve your investment and protect the value of your education.
Investigating Campus Weapons Violations
Your Pennsylvania college or university will very likely have and readily deploy substantial resources to investigate your alleged weapons violation. Pennsylvania schools, like schools elsewhere, take threats to their student and staff safety seriously. Penn State University, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Villanova University, and other Pennsylvania colleges and universities maintain their own police forces to assist school disciplinary officials with investigations involving campus safety. If a student or other member of the campus community reports that you may possess a weapon or other dangerous item on campus in a way that threatens campus safety and security, you should expect your school to swiftly investigate and take immediate emergency action as public safety, and disciplinary officials deem appropriate. You may find your weapon or other item confiscated and yourself banned from campus. You should also expect disciplinary charges to follow. Retain attorney Lento the moment you learn of any weapons investigation against you. Prompt action on your behalf by a skilled and experienced school discipline defense attorney may exonerate you from a violation or mitigate potential discipline.
School Weapons Violations Consequences
Make no mistake that a weapons violation on campus could result not only in the confiscation of your weapon or other dangerous item and your temporary ban from campus but also in your school suspension or expulsion. The student codes of conduct cited above, including, for prime example, Penn State's Student Code of Conduct, all authorize a wide range of discipline from simple reprimands up through loss of privileges to suspension and expulsion. If you suffer any such discipline, you can also lose honors, awards, references, recommendation letters, and opportunities for graduate or professional education, internships, jobs, and careers. Discipline for a weapons violation isn't something any student wants on an academic record. Let attorney advisor Lento help you avoid crippling consequences for weapons violations on your Pennsylvania college or university campus.
Defending School Disciplinary Charges for Weapons
Each of the above Pennsylvania college or university student codes of conduct, and similar codes at other Pennsylvania schools, provide accused students with protective disciplinary procedures. Temple's Student Policies and Procedures are an example, requiring that the university notify the student in writing of the weapons or other disciplinary charges, attempt informal resolution of the charges, and offer a hearing for contested charges and an appeal of adverse decisions. Accused students and their retained school discipline defense attorney may invoke these procedures to challenge weapons charges. Skilled and experienced academic administrative attorney representation may exonerate the accused student or mitigate any penalties. Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Student Defense Team can help you communicate with disciplinary officials, respond to the charges, gather and evaluate exonerating and mitigating evidence, attend conferences and hearings, and appeal adverse decisions. Attorney Lento also had the national reputation and local network contacts to help many students negotiate alternative special relief through the school's general counsel or other oversight channels. Let attorney Lento review your matter and advise you on available relief, even if you have exhausted all procedures.
Pennsylvania Weapons Criminal Charges
School disciplinary charges may not be your only risk if you violate a school weapons policy on your Pennsylvania college or university campus. If your conduct violated criminal laws, you might also face criminal court weapons charges in addition to your school disciplinary proceeding. Pennsylvania police and prosecutors will not hesitate to enforce criminal laws regulating weapons against college and university students. Student codes of conduct, like the one at Penn State University, coordinate school disciplinary proceedings with criminal case proceedings. Indeed, even if your conduct did not violate an express school weapons policy but did violate criminal law, your school could use that criminal activity to hold you responsible under school policy. Retain Pennsylvania student discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you defend and defeat the following criminal weapons charges.
18 Pennsylvania Criminal Code Section 6106 criminalizes as a third-degree felony carrying a concealed firearm or having the firearm in one's vehicle without a license to do so, including the firearm's registration. A third-degree felony carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Prohibited Offensive Weapons
18 Pennsylvania Criminal Code Section 908 makes a first-degree misdemeanor the possession of any offensive weapon, defined as "any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, any stun gun, stun baton, taser or other electronic or electric weapon or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose." A first-degree misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
18 Pennsylvania Criminal Code Section 2715 criminalizes as up to a second-degree felony, depending on the circumstances, intentionally making a threat involving a bomb, chemical agent, biological agent, or other weapons of mass destruction. The following Section 2716 likewise criminalizes the possession of a bomb or other weapon of mass destruction, while another Section 5516 criminalizes possession of a facsimile of a bomb or other weapon of mass destruction. A second-degree felony carries a sentence of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Carrying Loaded Firearms
18 Pennsylvania Criminal Code Section 6106.1 criminalizes as a summary offense carrying a loaded "pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle" other than for game hunting. A summary offense carries a penalty of up to ninety days in jail and a $300 fine.
Firearm Sale or Lease to Minors
18 Pennsylvania Criminal Code Section 6302 criminalizes as a first-degree misdemeanor selling to a minor under age eighteen any "deadly weapon, cartridge, gunpowder, or other similar dangerous explosive substance." A first-degree misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defending Student Weapons Criminal Charges
Pennsylvania school discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has the substantial skills and experience not only to represent you in your school disciplinary proceeding but also to defend you in criminal court on a prosecutor's criminal charges. Attorney Lento has practiced criminal defense in Pennsylvania's criminal courts for many years while also maintaining a nationally leading student discipline defense practice in Pennsylvania and across the country. Coordinating your school disciplinary and criminal court defense by retaining attorney Lento for both matters can increase your chances for success in both matters. Attorney Lento's specially coordinated defense services can help you gain the best possible outcome in both matters. Your best outcome may be early voluntary dismissal of school disciplinary charges and diversion, dismissal, or reduction of criminal charges. Trust attorney Lento to pursue both outcomes with skill and commitment. Attorney Lento has helped hundreds of students nationwide successfully defend misconduct charges and achieve their best outcome.
Premier Student Discipline and Criminal Defense
Premier student discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is available for your coordinated criminal court and school disciplinary defense in Pennsylvania. Contact attorney Lento now at 888.535.3686 or go online.