Weapons, Firearms, Fireworks, and Projectiles

Effective Date

Friday, January 1, 2016

Office of Primary Responsibility

Division of Student Affairs

Office(s) of Secondary Responsibility

Department of Safety & Security

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

All weapons are prohibited on the Dartmouth campus.  The policy below describes an exception for how hunting rifles/shotguns, knives, bows as well as archery supplies and related supplies must be registered and stored with the Department of Safety and Security. The term "weapons" should be understood to include, but not be limited to, firearms (including antique and military "trophy" firearms), paint guns, BB and pellet guns, air guns, slingshots, bows and arrows, swords, spears, various kinds of knives (other than cooking utensils or pocket knives with a blade length less than 3"), switchblades, and various martial-arts devices capable of being used as weapons.  Privately-owned handguns are prohibited anywhere on the Dartmouth campus. Note: The Department of Safety and Security must be notified whenever theatrical props simulating weapons will be used on the Dartmouth campus or its environs.

No student may possess or use a firearm, archery equipment, hunting knife or weapons of any type, and corresponding supplies, in Hanover or its environs without the approval of the Director of Safety and Security and proper registration through the Department of Safety and Security. Firearms, including rifles, shotguns, air guns, and gas-powered guns, and all ammunition or hand-loading equipment and supplies for same, must be stored in the gun room at the Department of Safety and Security. This applies to students living on or off-campus. Weapons of any type, and corresponding supplies, are not allowed in any College building or in any student residence in Hanover.

Irresponsible use or handling of weapons may be grounds for revocation of permission to register, store or use permitted weapons at Dartmouth. Members of the College community are responsible for understanding and abiding by all local, state and federal laws governing the use of firearms, as well as the safe handling procedures and risk factors related to the specific firearm(s) they intend to use. The standard hunter safety course will be given each fall to accommodate student demand and will be coordinated by the Department of Safety and Security. Incoming students who have previously passed a recognized Hunter Safety Course from any state need not repeat the course but must submit a copy of the Hunter Safety Certificate to be able to register and store weapons with the Department of Safety and Security. Students and employees storing weapons solely for marksmanship purposes may substitute the Hunter Safety Course Certificate with evidence of successful completion of a certified Safe Weapon Handling Program. No registration and storage will be provided for rifles or shotguns that cannot be legally used in the State of New Hampshire. It is the responsibility of students and employees to determine whether their guns comply with new Hampshire law before they present them for registration and storage.

Registration and storage is offered for one school year and can be renewed upon request. Upon registration, the make model, serial number and caliber of the weapon concerned are recorded and filed with the Department of Safety and Security.

Registered weapons are available for withdrawal and storage 24 hours a day through the Department of Safety and Security, but only the registered owner is permitted to pick up and deposit the firearm. During certain times, and at the discretion of the Department of Safety and Security, weapon withdrawal may be suspended or denied.

State and Local Ordinances

State and local ordinances regarding firearms govern all members of the College community as well. Community members are responsible for compliance with state and local laws concerning weapons as well as with Dartmouth policy, which is more restrictive. The usual interpretations of the intent of the state and local ordinances are as follows:

  • No type of firearm may be fired within the limits of the “Compact Part” of the Town of Hanover, (as defined by Ordinance 31 of the Town of Hanover) without permission of the Chief of Police.
  • Rifles and shotguns, unloaded, may be carried in hand or in a vehicle.
  • A person carrying a firearm of any kind “in woodland” is violating hunting laws unless licensed by the Fish and Game Commission. Pasture land and open country off the highways, as well as wooded areas, are included in this definition.
  • The use of certain types of guns and ammunition is prohibited. Specific information may be obtained from the local chief of police and game wardens.
  • No one may possess with intent to sell, or carry weapons such as stilettos, switchblades, daggers, or metal knuckles.
  • No one may provide a martial-arts weapon to a person under 18 without written consent of that person’s parent or guardian.
  • Specific information may be obtained from the local chief of police or game warden.


No student or recognized organization may possess or use fireworks on campus. Possession or use of fireworks will result in an automatic fine of $50 and may result in further disciplinary action.  Possession, use and sales of fireworks may also be subject to federal, state, and local laws.  Compliance with such laws is the responsibility of students and employees.


Propelling any object in such a way as to endanger health or property is prohibited and will result in an automatic fine of $20 and may subject an individual student or recognized organization to further disciplinary action.

Students are prohibited from possessing any slingshot, catapult, or any device to hurl a missile. Possession of such a device will result in an automatic fine of $50, and further disciplinary action may result.