This One is For All the Teachers & Students: Self-Defense in Places with Weapon Restrictions

This blog goes out to all the teachers and students who find themselves on educational campuses that may have weapon restrictions.  Owned by educators, Armed in Heels understands that there may be times when you find yourself in weapon free zones yet still need to have objects for self-defense. Whether you are taking night classes at your college or teaching courses a few times a week, the walk back to the parking lot (which is sometimes as much as a quarter mile away) is a lot scarier alone at night than while the sun is shining and there are people all around.  So what do you do if you frequent places with weapon restrictions? First, become knowledgeable about the campus policies. Second, choose some self-defense options that work best for you within the policy. And third, get training. Armed in Heels is just outside of Phoenix next to the largest university in the country, Arizona State University, so we used it as an example of how you can do these things.

The first step is to find out exactly what the campus policy for weapons is. When I tried to find ASU’s policy online, I realized that it was slightly confusing.  The most detail I could find is that ASU is a weapon free zone, though their definition for a weapon is a confusing sentence with multiple complex clauses that does not aid in my comprehension. Do not let policies like this discourage you. Every college either has a campus police department or public safety office. To find out exactly what the rule is, call them and ask.  I called the ASU Police Department and identified myself, “I’m owner of Armed in Heels, a retailer for women’s self-defense and firearms. I am calling so that I can better understand what self-defense items are allowed on campus so that I know what options I have for protecting myself.” I was greeted nicely by the receptionist and forwarded straight to a sergeant who was incredibly helpful, pleasurable, and patient in answering all my questions.

He started by discussing the ASU policy on firearms. Here are the main points. Remember, these are specific to ASU and may differ in other locations. ASU has an administrative policy that does not allow firearms on campus. At ASU, students or employees may store firearms in locked vehicles parked in ASU parking lots and structures so long as they are not visible. Students and employees also have the option of storing firearms in locked boxes at the ASU Police Department.  This, I was informed, is an administrative rule which means you cannot be arrested for breaking it, though your status as a student or employee is dependent on your compliance. Any lack of compliance with ASU Police Department, however, can result in being arrested for trespassing or other offenses just as in an off campus incidence.  So no firearms on campus…got it. But what about other stuff?

The nice sergeant then read me the definition of a weapon per ASU policy.

Any object or substance designed to (or which would be reasonably expected to) inflict a wound, cause injury, incapacitate, or cause death, including, without limitation, all firearms (loaded and unloaded, simulated and real), devices designed to expel a projectile (such as BB guns, air guns, pellet guns, and potato guns), electronic control devices (such as Tasers or stun guns), swords, knives with blades five inches or longer, martial arts weapons, bows and arrows, and chemicals (such as Mace, tear gas, or oleoresin capsicum), but excluding normally available over-the-counter, self-defense chemical repellents. The general public may not possess chemical repellents labeled “for police use only” or “for law enforcement use only.”

Ugh, that again. But how do they classify a “substance designed…to inflict a wound, cause injury, incapacitate, or cause death”.  I mean that could technically be anything, right? The sergeant was nice enough to explain his interpretation. And yes, just as many laws, it all comes down to someone’s interpretation. He said that anything that is manufactured with the intent to cause harm would be considered a weapon to ASU. So expandable batons, stun guns, and Tasers which are all popular self-defense items fall into that category and are prohibited at ASU. However, there is an exception to this rule. The sergeant said that over the counter pepper spray, as long as it does not say “For Police Use”, is ok. And so are knifes that have blades of less than 5”. Flashlights that have high lumens and strobe are ok. Bottom line: when trying to sort this out ask yourself, “Was this object made to primarily inflict harm?” And if the answer is yes, other than the exceptions, it is not allowed at ASU.

Once you’ve found out, and understand, the campus policy the second step is to choose items that work for you.  For ASU, this may mean acquiring some pepper spray, a small knife, and a really really bright flashlight, all of which can be found at Armed in Heels.  However, there are also discrete multi-functional items that may be of aid, since their primary uses are for everyday purposes.  Here are a few carried by Armed in Heels:

Defense Pens

Defense pens are actual fully functioning high quality writing utensils. However, their frames are constructed in ways that they can also be used as a dagger in self-defense situations. The ArchAngel Aluminum Defense Pen Dagger, shown below, is an excellent choice. It is made of aircraft grade aluminum, with a threaded cap, and a heavy duty steel clip. The black ink cartridges are replaceable and pressuraized for maximum writing performance. It has an MSRP of around $50. Available at ArmedinHeels.com for less

ProMag ArchAngel Aluminum Defense Pen

Defense Punch Dagger

Knives can often be hard to hold and scary to use. Punch daggers, however, fit easily into the grip allowing one to use a "punching" action, reducing risk of self injury in high stress situations. The Black Hawn Self Defense Punch Dagger, shown below, folds up into a small compartment and is attached to a lanyard. This makes it easy to wear around your neck, under your clothing, or attach to the inside of your purse. It has an edge that is easy to grip to present sliding. With only a 3.85” blade, it is likely to be allowed under various policies. MSRP is about $29.99 but available at ArmedinHeels.com for less.

BlackHawk Self Defense Punch Dagger

Hair Brush Defense Dagger

This is an Armed in Heels favorite! The Hair Brush Defense Dagger, shown below, is a fully functioning hairbrush that is easy to store in a purse or bag. However, when pulled apart, the shaft becomes an 8.25" polypropylene defense dagger. Being extra light, affordable, and useful, this is a great addition to any female’s day or overnight bag. MSRP is about $10 but available for less at ArmedinHeels.com.

Hair Brush Defense Dagger

 

After you’ve figured out the policy and decided what self-defense tools you’ll use, the third step is to get training. Regardless of what tools you will use for self-defense, it is imperative that you practice, practice, and practice. In situations where there are weapon restrictions this is even more important. Your ability to think logically and choose actions to best promote your well bring is most important. These techniques and strategies can be learned best through self-defense training.

So, for all you educators, students, and others who find themselves in places with weapon restrictions remember: (1) learn the policies, (2) pick tools that work for you within the policies, and (3) practice and get training in self-defense. Do not get intimidated along the way. You have the right to defend yourself and acquiring this knowledge allows you to do so within the restrictions of administrative policy. Happy researching! We hope that this helps you all stay safe and Armed in Heels!

 

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