7.13 Firearms, Explosives, Combustible Fuels, Fireworks and Dangerous Weapons

Possession and/or use on University property of firearms or ammunition, explosives, combustible fuels, firecrackers and potential ingredients thereof are forbidden. Please take careful note of the following statute of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer, and notwithstanding any license obtained by him under the provisions of chapter one hundred and forty, carries on his person a firearm as hereinafter defined, loaded or unloaded, or other dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of such elementary or secondary school, college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both. For the purpose of this paragraph “firearm” shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet or pellet can be discharged by whatever means.

Any officer in charge of an elementary or secondary school, college or university or any faculty member or administrative officer of an elementary or secondary school, college or university failing to report violations of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.[Massachusetts General Laws, c.269 §10(j)]

In addition, Massachusetts law requires a permit or firearms identification card or compliance with other specialized rules (depending upon the type of weapon) for possession of any firearms. The definition of firearms is a broad one and includes pistols or guns operated by air, carbon dioxide or other gases. Carrying any firearm (even if unloaded) in violation of the law is punishable by imprisonment with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year, which cannot be suspended or reduced. Students should consult the Boston Police if they intend to possess firearms on non-University property, in order to assure strict compliance with the applicable statutes.

According to Harvard’s legal counsel, the definition of “dangerous weapon” includes items designed to do bodily injury, such as a stiletto, ballistic knife, blackjack, brass knuckles, billy stick, switchblade knife and martial arts items such as throwing stars, kung fu sticks and nunchaku (sticks connected by a rope, chain, wire or leather).

Last updated 7/19/16