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Index > Operations Policies > Weapons Policy

Weapons Policy


Rhode Island School of Design (“RISD”) is committed to maintaining an environment in which all individuals, including students, employees, vendors, and visitors, feel safe to conduct their daily routines of work and study. In furtherance of this commitment, this policy aims to identify all devices and instruments that may be used to cause harm and are therefore forbidden from RISD property at all times.


Prohibited Weapon any object or substance used, or that could be used, to inflict a wound, cause injury, kill, or incapacitate, including but not limited to (1) all firearms, including guns, pistols, blank guns, machine guns, air rifles, zip guns, stun guns and tasers, slingshots, pellet and BB guns; (2) instruments commonly known as billy clubs, metal knuckles, bludgeons, and “Kung-Fu” weapons; (3) switchblade knives, bowie knives, and any knife not listed in the exceptions below; (4) explosives, fireworks, and firecrackers, unless otherwise sanctioned by a RISD sponsored event, (5) and dangerous chemicals such as tear gas and mace, not including permitted and legal disabling chemical spray repellents used for self-defense; and (6) instruments that launch projectiles, and ammunition relating to the above.

Exceptions to this policy include, but are not limited to, X-ACTO knives, palette knives, metalsmithing tools, saws, hammers, laser cutters, blow torches and other tools, chemicals and solvents used in RISD shops under the supervision of qualified instructors and technicians for the production of works of art and design relevant to a specific course of study.

RISD Property – includes (1) all RISD campus locations, (2) RISD-owned or leased property, including all grounds, parking areas, structures, and buildings, lockers, offices, and workspaces; (2) any location at which RISD, its employees, staff, faculty, students, or vendors participate as part of a RISD activity; (3) the off-campus activities of student groups and organizations recognized by RISD; and (4) any motor vehicle on RISD property, regardless of whether it is personally owned or leased by the school.


Rhode Island School of Design specifically prohibits the possession, transfer, use and/or distribution of weapons by any faculty or staff member, student, or visitor while on the campus or in the vicinity of RISD-owned or controlled property, whether or not the owner is licensed to carry such weapon. This ban includes keeping a weapon or transporting it to another location. With the exception of members of the department of Public Safety, employees are prohibited from carrying a weapon while performing services for the college on or off college premises. Other law enforcement professionals must have the permission of RISD Public Safety to carry weapons on campus.

Weapons may include, but are not limited to, guns, ammunition, knives, explosives and the like, crossbows, swords, common martial arts training weapons including nunchaku, staffs and bows, or similar items with the potential to inflict physical harm. Disarmed weapons and simulated weapons, including replicas, which could reasonably cause apprehension are also prohibited.

Students found in possession of unlicensed or illegal weapons at any location may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, and/or criminal proceedings will be taken against any individual who violates this policy. Students found in violation of the state of Rhode Island’s weapons laws are subject to prosecution by local authorities as well as referral to the Code of Conduct Administrator. Students are cautioned that weapons are not allowed in residence halls.The RISD Residence Life Policies also lists any realistic toy or model of such items, even if otherwise permitted by law, among prohibited items. Students are further reminded that the housing contract clearly states that the college, at its discretion, may enter and search any room and its contents at any time without an appointment, including personal possessions to insure compliance with all applicable policies.

Employees who violate this policy will be subject to the full range of discipline available under RISD’s Corrective Action Policy and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements, up to and including termination, and may also be referred for criminal prosecution.

As it relates to the weapons listed in this policy, members of the RISD community in possession of such items have no reasonable expectation to privacy and may be subject to a security search.


Questions concerning whether a particular object is covered by this policy may be submitted to the Director of Public Safety or their designee, whose determination shall be final. This policy does not apply to other law enforcement agencies. Approval of such uses must be obtained in advance from the official supervising the organization or sponsoring the activity, who shall consult with the Director of Public Safety or their designee.

Community Responsibilities

As a community, all RISD members have a duty to report to Public Safety those individuals who are or may be in possession of a weapon on RISD property. A report should also be made to Public Safety if an individual on RISD property notices an unattended item that is reasonably believed by the individual to be a weapon. All reports of such observations must be promptly made to RISD Public Safety at 401-454-6666.

Revision history

This policy was created on: 11/15/2022

Review annually on the following date or as required by law: November 15


Issuing Office

Public Safety

Responsible Officer

Vice President of Campus Services

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

Office of the General Counsel

Director, Public Safety

Director, Student Conduct and Community Standards