Weapons Policy

Approved by President/Provost
October 21, 2022

Latest Revision
July 14, 2023

Policy Contact
NYS University Police
(607) 436-3550

Policy Statement

To ensure the safety of SUNY Oneonta students, faculty, staff, invited guests, Campus visitors, and Third Parties, the University regulates use and possession of Weapons by any person on its

Campuses. In doing so, the University also ensures compliance with all appropriate and applicable New York State laws, New York State regulations, SUNY policies, and Campus policies, procedures, and regulations.


The NYS Penal Law Sections 265.20 and 270.05 have been amended to permit persons over the age of 18 years, and who have not been convicted of a felony or a crime of assault, to purchase and possess a self-defense spray of a type authorized by regulations of the department of health. The Department of Health has promulgated regulations which define what self-defense sprays may be legally possessed. These regulations authorize sprays containing oleoresin capsicum, and no other substance, as the active ingredient (pepper sprays).

Due to these changes in law and the amendment of the previous policy, students, faculty, and staff will have the option to utilize additional tools to help better promote their own personal safety such as in situations involving sexual assault or other interpersonal violence.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to any person on the SUNY Oneonta campus including all faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

Policy Elaboration

Possession and or use of any Weapon or any device capable of use as a weapon by release of

explosive material, noxious material, electric discharge, or projectile, is prohibited on Campus.

Exemptions to this Policy:

  1. The President, as the chief administrative officer of the Campus, and consistent with 8NYCRR Part 590, grants the following exceptions to the prohibition of Weapons on Campus:
    1. Military or law enforcement of the United States or the State of New York in pursuit of their official duties, as provided for under 8 NYCRR 590.1, SUNY Policy 5403.
    2. Possession of a self-defense spray as allowed under New Your State Penal Law Section 265.20(a)(14) and must follow New York State Codes, Rules and Regulations Section 54.3 Requirements which governs substance type, size, and weight of spray allowed.


Weapon – any deadly weapon as defined in the NYS Penal Law Section 10.00(12), any weapon listed in NYS Penal Law Section 265, and as listed in the SUNY Board of Trustee Regulations 8 NYCRR Part 590 and SUNY document #5403.

Self-defense spray – a non-lethal personal self-defense device. Self-defense spray device means a pocket-sized spray device which contains and releases a chemical or organic substance which is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air. Every self-defense spray device shall contain oleoresin capsicum, and no other substance, as the active ingredient.

Oleoresin capsicum – the oleoresin extracted from fruits of plants of the genus Capsicum. The oleoresin contains the active ingredient capsaicin and related compounds classified as capsaicinoids.

Force on another – any physical effort used on another person to control, restrain, or overcome their actions.


The use of self-defense spray is deemed as force on another, needs to be justified, and will be investigated.

Failure to comply with the University’s prohibition of Weapons on Campus shall be considered an intentional violation of Campus policy. Violation of this policy may result in criminal prosecution, disciplinary action, including termination from employment or expulsion from the Campus, and/or other sanctions.

Individuals possessing self-defense spray should seek out appropriate training prior to use. For a virtual training opportunity, please watch the Sabre Personal Safety Academy training video.


There are no forms affiliated with this policy.


Questions related to the daily operational interpretation of this policy should be directed to:

NYS University Police
(607) ­436-­3550

Related Documents / Policies


  • NYS Penal Law Section 265
  • NYS Penal Law Section 265
  • NYS Penal Law Section 265.01-a
  • NYS Penal Law Section 265.20
  • NYS Penal Law Section 10.00.12


SUNY Policies:

Effective Dates

  • Approved by the President/Provost on 10/21/2022
  • Latest Revision on 07/14/2023
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