Signs near campus declare the UA a weapon-free zone

By Tom Collins
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 28, 1996

Gregory Harris
Arizona Daily Wildcat

New "weapon free zone" signs have been placed at the major entrances to the campus. A no weapons policy was in effect well before the new signs were posted.


New signs declaring the UA a weapon free campus have gone up in the last two weeks, but the idea is nothing new.

"The issue with the signs boils down to us saying as a community that we will not have weapons on our campus," said Harry Hueston II, deputy chief of the University of Arizona Police Department.

"It is not unusual for higher education institutions to have such a code," Hueston said.

The university's code of conduct already prohibits the "unauthorized use, possession or storage of any weapon."

Hueston said the signs are away of informing the campus community and the community at large of the "zero-tolerance" policy of the university.

Zero-tolerance means that police will respond to any report of weapons, Hueston said. He said it is the same attitude the university has to drug and alcohol violations.

Hueston said the term weapons applies not just to firearms, but also knives, martial arts equipment and explosives.

It also applies to concealed weapons regardless of whether the carrier has a permit, Hueston said.

Exceptions to the rule are ROTC exercises, Geology and Mines explosives and the Theatre Arts Department's pyrotechnic expert. Hueston also said law enforcement officers and armored car personnel are permitted to carry weapons on campus.

Hueston said the signs are not a response to any particular event, but the culmination of a look at concealed weapon legislation and the no weapons policies on other state university campuses and in the local school districts.

A person who brings a weapon to campus and does not comply with police orders to remove it can be charged with interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational facility, Hueston said.

"I would hope it (the signs) would stand for and promote a safe environment," said Veda Hunn, assistant dean of students.

Hunn said the signs should lead the community to report weapons on campus.

According to UAPD statistics, there were 10 reports of weapon violations in 1995, and four arrests.

Hueston said the campus is not isolated from crimes of violence, although crime rates are lower on campus.

"We need to educate our community that what goes on outside our borders goes on inside our borders," Hueston said.

The signs are placed at East University Boulevard and North Park Avenue, University Boulevard and North Campbell Avenue, East Speedway Boulevard and North Cherry Avenue, and East Sixth Street and North Highland Avenue.

Decals describing the no weapons policy are currently posted on doors of the University Services building and the Administration building, Hueston said. He said the decals will soon be posted on every campus building.

Weapons are also not permitted in cars parked on campus, Hueston said.

Hueston said UAPD most often finds weapons during traffic stops, but asks the community to dial 911 if a weapon is seen.