DeKALB – The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of a new concealed-carry policy that reaffirms a ban of all firearms on any NIU campus.
The move follows the state’s passage of the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which itself specifically bans weapons to be carried into any building, classroom or athletic venue, or on any public or private university or college property.
“The framework is already there,” NIU spokesman Paul Palian said. “But in allowing people to conceal carry, there are certain policies and procedures that need to be updated.”
NIU’s new policy allows for weapons to be stored in vehicles on NIU property in locked cases out of plain sight, except in certain areas. It also expands on the definition of firearm to include “any device that shoots a bullet” as well as fireworks and explosive devices, knives of all varieties,and bows.
The policy also makes exceptions for full-time law enforcement officers, as well as weapons needed for weapons safety courses or athletic activities, or for simulated weapons that are used in theatrical productions.
Students who violate the NIU policy could be subject to a campus ban or expulsion, depending on whether or not they knowingly committed the violation. University employees face disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and other individuals could face arrest and prosecution.
“NIU’s policy provides a basis for the implementation of the Illinois statute,” NIU President Douglas Baker said. “We will continue to refine our policies and procedures as further clarification becomes available from the Illinois State Police and any further legislative amendments.”
The state law prohibits NIU from banning the concealed-carry of firearms on public streets and sidewalks that touch campus property. It also requires NIU to post signs around campus that makes clear the fact that concealed firearms aren’t permitted.