Weapons Policy

Established: April 15, 2021
Date Last Revised: n/a
Approved by: Cabinet
Responsible Office: Public Safety and Service
Responsible Senior Staff Member: Director of Public Safety and Service


Mount Holyoke College is committed to providing a safe environment for students, employees and visitors. In compliance with state law, Mount Holyoke College prohibits the carry of firearms and other weapons on campus.

Scope / Responsibilities

This policy includes the possession of dangerous weapons or any kind of firearm, whether or not a lawful permit might have been issued under the law for ownership, possession, or use. All employees, students, and visitors must comply with this policy.

Exceptions to this policy include:

Authorized law enforcement officers or military personnel, in the performance of their official duties, and to the extent that they are legally permitted to possess weapons in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Policy Statement

No firearms or dangerous weapons are permitted on the Mount Holyoke College campus. This policy is consistent with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 10(j).


  • Weapons on display as objects of artistic, decorative, historical, or cultural value, provided that such weapons are secured in such a way as to prevent access to the weapon or removal of the weapon by unauthorized persons, and in the case of mechanical, electronic, or chemical weapons, rendered inert and inoperable.
  • College-sanctioned employee groups or events where a weapon or replica of a weapon is essential to the activity. This may include dramatic performances, and sanctioned athletic competitions such as fencing or archery.
  • Chemicals used for academic purposes or handled by College departments such as Facilities Management in the performance of the department’s regular duties, will not be considered Chemical Weapons within the scope of the Mount Holyoke College Weapons Policy so long as they are handled according to Mount Holyoke’s Hazardous Materials Management guidelines.

Exceptions need to be requested per the Procedures articulated below.

Policy Violations (if applicable)

Violations of college policies are adjudicated according to procedures outlined in the Student Handbook and the Staff Handbook, with disciplinary consequences imposed by the adjudicating authority up to and including dismissal. Some offenses are punishable under state and federal laws.


Departments should develop internal procedures relevant to their business processes that support compliance with this policy. Review and approval of internal procedures by the policy administrator is recommended.

Requests for Exception

Those wishing to request an exception must make a written appeal to the Director of Public Safety and Service. The Director of Public Safety and Service will consult with appropriate college officials and come to a decision. In compliance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 10(j), exceptions will not be granted for firearms of any kind. The Director of Public Safety and Service or their designee, must approve such use at least two (2) weeks before the event is to take place, and authorization must be in writing from the Director or their designee.


These definitions apply to terms as they are used in this policy.

A weapon that, through controlled explosions, can fire a projectile at deadly force. This includes all pistols, rifles, handguns or any other guns.

Dangerous Weapons
Any weapons listed under the “Types of Dangerous Weapons” section of this policy is considered a dangerous weapon.

Types of Dangerous Weapons

Dangerous weapons can include, but are not limited to the types of weapons described below:

  • Firearms
    • Shotguns
    • Rifles
    • Pistols and revolvers
    • Paintball guns
    • BB/pellet guns
    • Flare guns
    • Firearm replicas
  • Ammunition
    • Bullets
    • Cartridges
    • Shell casings, primers
    • Igniters
    • Gun powder
  • Electrical Weapons
    • Any portable device capable of directing a current, impulse, or beam designed to temporarily incapacitate, injure or kill the target.
  • Knives
    • Ballistic knives
    • Dirk Knives
    • Switchblades
    • Folding knives with a blade over three inches in length
    • Double-edged knives
    • Hunting knives of any length
    • Throwing knives
    • Swords
    • Axes
  • Martial Arts Weapons
    • Nunchaku
    • Zoobow
    • Shuriken
    • Cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand
    • Manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends
    • Spears
    • Bows; crossbows
    • Arrows
    • Slingshots
    • Blowguns
    • Blackjacks
    • Metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles
    • Stiletto dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position;
  • Explosives
    • Fireworks
    • Any weapon designed to burst or shatter violently upon detonation
  • Chemical Weapons
    • Nerve agents
    • Vesicants (blistering agents)
    • Bloods agents (cyanogenic agents)
    • Choking agents (pulmonary agents)
    • Riot-control agents (tear gases)
    • Psychomimetic agents
    • Toxins

Related Information


Additional reference material here:

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 10(j)

Visit the following website for the entire MHC Student Handbook:

Visit the following website to learn more about Hazardous Materials Management at Mount Holyoke, including disposal guidelines, security plans and rules for transportation and storage.