A settlement agreement and related litigation between Ohio State University and gun-rights advocates has resulted in a change in the university’s policies to allow students with concealed carry permits to store firearms in their vehicles on campus.
A lawsuit filed more than two years ago by two gun-rights groups and Mike Newbern, an OSU Marion student and instructor, charged that Ohio State policies prohibiting storage of guns in vehicles went against state law.
In December 2016, the General Assembly passed and Gov. John Kasich signed a law that lifted a longstanding statewide ban on carrying concealed guns at colleges, day care centers and airports, but left it up to universities whether to actually allow them. Ohio State continues to prohibit weapons and firearms on its campuses unless properly authorized by an appropriate university official, but now does not prohibit the storage of firearms inside a locked vehicle on campus.
In February, Ohio State’s board of trustees approved changes to the student conduct code that the parties negotiated in a settlement agreement, and the case in Marion County Common Pleas Court was dismissed last week.
“We’re happy that Ohio State has changed the student code of conduct so that vetted, trained, licensed students will be able to store their lawfully possessed firearms in their cars parked on campus,” Newbern said in a news release. “It’s unfortunate that the rights of those students codified by the General Assembly some 15 years ago (when Ohio implemented its concealed carry program) weren’t recognized until we challenged the University in court at great expense to the Ohio taxpayer.”
Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said the university already had been enforcing rules about storing guns in vehicles in accordance with state law, and the recent move by the board simply updated the language in its student code of conduct.