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V-2: Campus and Workplace Violence Prevention Policy
Policy Number: V-2
Last Reviewed: February 21, 2013
Responsible Dept.: Office of the President; Human Resources
Policy Document (PDF)
It is the intent of Virginia Western Community College to provide a safe and secure environment for College employees, students, and visitors by establishing preventative measures, holding perpetrators accountable, and providing assistance and support to victims. This policy specifically addresses the College's position on prevention, reduction, and management of violence to provide a safe working and learning environment for our students, employees, and visitors at all College owned, controlled, or leased properties, including off-campus locations. In implementing this policy, the College is guided by the Commonwealth of Virginia's Policy 1.80, Workplace Violence, and Policy 2.30, Workplace Harassment.
The Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is free from disruptive, threatening, and violent behavior. VWCC will not ignore, condone, or tolerate disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior by any member of the VWCC community or by unaffiliated visitors. Faculty, staff, and students engaging in such behavior will be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures, up to and including dismissal, under Policy 1.60, Standards of Conduct, Section 3 of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Policy Manual, and the VWCC Student Handbook. VWCC will thoroughly and properly investigate any complaint of violence or the threat of violence.
The conduct of students is covered in the VWCC Student Handbook. The Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs and the Office of the Dean of Student Services are responsible for the implementation of the provisions in the student handbook. Nothing in this policy amends the College policies governing student life and conduct.
Virginia Western Community College does not tolerate acts of violence or hostility committed by or against employees, students, contractual workers, temporary employment agency workers, volunteers, visitors, or other third parties on College owned, controlled, or leased properties, or while conducting College business at any location, including representing the College at conferences or off-site meetings, or traveling in College owned or leased vehicles.
This policy applies to the personal conduct of an employee while functioning in the course and scope of employment, whether on- or off-campus, and to any off-duty violent conduct that adversely impacts a College employee's ability to perform his or her assigned duties and responsibilities. The personal conduct of students involving violations occurring off College property will be addressed under College policies administered under the VWCC Student Handbook if College officials decide that College interests are involved. Student employees, including work/study students, may also be covered under relevant employee policies.
It is intended that all useful management strategies be employed to identify and prevent incidents of workplace and campus violence, reduce the effects of violence on victims, and provide consequences to those who threaten or perpetrate violence. College managers, employees and students are responsible for reporting indications of possible hostile behavior and must not be subjected to any acts of retaliation for reporting these concerns. The College will use available resources such as employee assistance programs, law enforcement offices, the College's Advising & Retention and REACH Services, and applicable human resources and student programs and policies in responding to alleged acts of violence.
2.1 Prohibited Conduct and Sanctions
Violence includes, but is not limited to, intimidation, threats, physical attack, domestic and dating violence, stalking, or property damage, and includes acts of violence committed by or against College employees, students, contractual workers, temporary employment agency workers, customers, relatives, acquaintances, or other third parties in College facilities or on College grounds. Workplace violence is further defined as any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace by employees, students, or third parties. It includes, but is not limited to, beating, stabbing, shooting, rape, suicide, attempted suicide, psychological trauma such as threats, obscene phone calls, an intimidating presence, and harassment of any nature such as stalking, shouting, or swearing, such that a reasonable level of fear is felt.
Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to, intentionally
- injuring another person physically;
- engaging in verbal or physical behavior that creates a reasonable fear of injury to an identifiable person;
- engaging in verbal or physical behavior that subjects an identifiable individual to extreme emotional distress or feelings of being unsafe;
- engaging in threatening or violent behavior based upon race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected status;
- defacing or damaging property;
- threatening to injure an individual or to damage property;
- committing injurious or threatening acts related to sexual assault, stalking, dating or domestic violence, or sexual harassment;
- brandishing a weapon or firearm;
- retaliating against any individual who, in good faith, reports a violation of this policy.
Verbal behavior also includes the use of any method of communication such as email, comments posted on websites, or other paper or electronic media. Use of any State or College automated systems for these purposes may violate other policies, laws, and regulations regarding the use of computers and the Internet.
A violation of this policy shall be considered unacceptable conduct and subject to disciplinary actions under the appropriate faculty, staff, and student policies, up to and including dismissal.
- College classified employees are subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the Commonwealth of Virginia Standards of Conduct and Performance Policy 1.60.
- College faculty employees are subject to disciplinary actions as outlined in the VCCS Policy Manual, Section 3 and are subject to the spirit and intent of actions set forth in the Commonwealth of Virginia Standards of Conduct and Performance Policy 1.60.
- Hourly and wage employees, including adjunct faculty, are "at will" employees and may be disciplined or dismissed.
- Students are subject to disciplinary actions as outlined in the VWCC Student Handbook.
Individuals who violate this policy may also be subject to arrest for trespassing and/or violation of the appropriate State criminal statute, and/or may be barred from the campus.
For employees, an act of off-duty violent conduct may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal per applicable personnel policies.
2.2 Virginia Western Community College Policy on Weapons
- Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to promote a safe learning and working environment for all college locations by minimizing the risk of violence by use of a weapon. This policy provides rules and procedures for the possession of weapons on campus grounds, in campus buildings, and at campus events. It is consistent with the Regulation of Weapons (Appendix A) adopted by the State Board for Community Colleges, Policy 3.14.6, Workplace Violence Prevention and Threat Assessment Policy Guidelines of the Virginia Community College System, and the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Application: This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, contractors, and visitors entering campus buildings or attending college-sponsored events.
- Authority: The State Board for Community Colleges is authorized by Virginia Code §§ 23-215 and 23-217(g) to promulgate regulations for carrying out its responsibilities. State Board for Community Colleges Regulation 8VAC95-10-10 et seq. (Appendix A) sets out prohibitions for weapons possession on all college campuses within the VCCS. The Local Board of Virginia Western Community College, as authorized by the State Board for Community Colleges, may adopt and amend local college policies regarding weapons pursuant to State Board regulations.
- "Police officer" means law-enforcement officials appointed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 15.2-1609 et seq.) of Chapter 16 and Chapter 17 (§ 15.2-1700 et seq.) of Title 15.2, Chapter 17 (§ 23-232 et seq.) of Title 23, Chapter 2 (§ 29.1-200 et seq.) of Title 29.1, or Chapter 1 (§ 52-1 et seq.) of Title 52 of the Code of Virginia or sworn federal law-enforcement officers.
- "College property" means any property owned, leased, or controlled by Virginia Western Community College and/or the administrative office of the Virginia Community College System.
- "Weapon" means (i) any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; (ii) any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; (iii) any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; (iv) any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart; or (v) any weapon of like kind, to include but not limited to, tasers.
"Weapon" does not mean knives or razors used for domestic purposes, pen or folding knives with blades less than three inches in length, or knives of like kind carried for use in accordance with the purpose intended by the original seller.
- Possession or carrying of any weapon by any person, except a police officer, is prohibited on college property in academic buildings, administrative office buildings, student centers, multi-purpose centers, dining facilities and places of like kind where people congregate, or while attending any college-sponsored sporting, entertainment or educational events. Entry upon the aforementioned college property in violation of this prohibition is expressly forbidden.
- Faculty, staff, and students may not possess or carry any weapon anywhere on college property except as outlined in Section F of this policy.
- Current sworn and certified local, state, and federal law enforcement officers with proper identification, may possess or carry a weapon on college property, inside all campus buildings, and at all campus events.
- Faculty, staff, and students may secure handguns, rifles, and shotguns in a compartment or container of parked vehicles. Faculty, staff, and students who wish to secure a handgun in their vehicle must possess a valid concealed handgun permit. The compartment or container may be a trunk or other storage area. At no time shall a weapon be visible in plain view while inside a vehicle.
- Faculty, staff, and students who wish to secure a handgun, rifle, or shotgun in their vehicle must complete the Weapon Storage form included in Appendix B.
- All faculty, staff, and students who complete a Weapon Storage form shall be allowed to secure weapons in their vehicles.
- Visitors and contractors may secure handguns, rifles, and shotguns in parked vehicles. Visitors and contractors are encouraged to secure weapons in the trunk of vehicles or otherwise out of sight of passersby. If visitors and contractors store handguns in a parked vehicle, the handgun must be secured in a compartment or container inside the vehicle.
- The Chief of Campus Police may authorize in writing a person to possess, store, or use a weapon: (i) when used for educational or artistic instruction, display, parade, or ceremony sponsored or approved by the college (unloaded or disabled only and with other specified safeguards, if appropriate); or (ii) for any college-approved training, course, or class.
- If campus police officers observe or receive a report of a violation of this policy, campus police will direct the individual to leave the campus building or event immediately. The individual may secure the weapon inside his or her vehicle and return. In the event the individual fails to comply, campus police will take appropriate action, to include arrest.
- In cases involving an immediate threat of violence, members of the campus community are encouraged to call 911 or campus police at 857-7979 immediately. Campus police may make an arrest or take other action as appropriate.
- Persons observed on the open grounds of campus (streets, sidewalks, and other open areas on college property) may be asked by campus police to identify his or her relationship with the college to confirm whether a violation of this policy has occurred, (i.e., determine whether the individual is a student, employee, or visitor). If the individual is a visitor who intends to enter a campus building or event where weapons are prohibited, campus police shall advise that, pursuant to regulation (Appendix A), it is unlawful to enter such places while possessing or carrying a weapon. The individual shall be advised to secure the weapon inside his or her vehicle prior to entering the building or event.
- Violation of Policy:
- Students who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action under the student conduct code up to and including, dismissal.
- Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination, using existing policies and procedures including Section 3 of the VCCS Policy Manual or DHRM Policy 1.60, Standards of Conduct.
- Pursuant to the Regulation of Weapons (Appendix A), visitors and contractors in violation of the prohibitions on the possession of weapons are subject to arrest and may be barred from the campus.
2.3 Prevention, Risk Assessment, and Response
The Campus Safety and Security Committee shall be the body exercising authority over the College's crisis management and emergency preparedness planning and direction. This committee will exercise authority and responsibility over crisis management matters as directed by the College President (see VWCC Crisis Management Plan, Section 1).
As part of a larger and institution-wide commitment to a safe campus and workplace environment, the College is committed to the development of preventative measures, including a campus and workplace violence prevention and risk assessment committee, security planning for at-risk individuals, preemployment screening, and general programs to increase employee and student awareness.
The Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services will chair a campus-wide Workplace Violence Prevention and Risk Assessment Committee, which will be appointed by the President, and will be responsible for:
- Conducting an annual review to identify potential or existing risks, including gathering and analyzing reports and data to identify high-risk departments, activities, or locations.
- Reviewing and recommending employee and student awareness and training programs on campus and workplace violence.
- Reviewing periodic summary reports, as developed, from Student Services, Campus Police, Human Resources, and other offices.
- Communicating with employees and students regarding workplace security matters and reporting the results of these communications to the Campus Safety and Security Committee.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of the College's workplace/campus violence prevention programs.
2.3.1 "Care Team"/Threat Assessment Team
The President, under the authority of the State Board for Community Colleges, will appoint a "Care Team" which will be composed of the following: Dean of Student Services, Chair; Coordinator of Advising and Retention Services; one or more Professional Counselors with LPC or NCC licensure and/or certification; one Professional/Administrative Faculty Member with primary duties in diversity matters; the Chief of Campus Police; the Human Resources Director; and, may be expanded to include outside agencies when appropriate [i.e.: counselors, public safety agencies, etc.] with reviews by VCCS legal counsel, as necessary. This team shall serve to intervene, assess and determine actions as a threat assessment team as defined by the Code of Virginia, Section 23-9.2:10. The "Care Team" shall establish an ongoing presence on the college website, and through other appropriate means, for student, faculty and staff information and for individuals to express issues or concerns regarding potentially disruptive, abnormal, aberrant or threatening behaviors.
The "Care Team"/Threat Assessment Team is charged with (a) providing guidance to students, faculty, and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community; (b) identifying members of the campus community to whom threatening behavior should be reported; (c) developing comprehensive fact-based assessments of students, employees, or other individuals who may present a threat to the College (and/or adjacent communities) and determining appropriate means of intervention with such individuals; and (d) taking the necessary and appropriate actions regarding policies and procedures for the assessment of individuals whose behavior may present a threat, taking appropriate means of intervention with such individuals, and applying sufficient means of action, including interim suspension or medical separation to resolve potential threats, consistent with VCCS and College policies and applicable law. (Reference Code of Virginia, Section 23-9.2:10.C) The "Care Team"/Threat Assessment Team decisions regarding students are appealable only to the Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs.
The "Care Team"/Threat Assessment Team will take specific actions in a timely manner based upon potential or real threats to the campus community. These actions may include, but are not limited to, interim suspensions, medical separations, or dismissal of students, and recommending disciplinary measures applicable to employees pursuant to employment policies. This team will determine corrective actions to be taken to prevent future incidents and develop the necessary reports to document and support actions taken. For employee-related matters, the "Care Team"/Threat Assessment Team may expand to include the respective supervisor, and the respective Vice President. The employee-related actions shall be pursuant to conduct and disciplinary policies in effect at those given times.
All records and/or documentation will be located and retained by the Virginia Western Campus Police Department. These records are not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements. All meetings shall be recorded either through a scribe or electronically.
2.4 Identifying and Reporting Risks
All individuals are encouraged to be alert to the possibility of violence on the part of employees, former employees, students, customers, guests, and strangers. Employees and students shall place safety as their highest concern and shall report all acts of violence and threats of violence. All reports of violence will be handled in a confidential manner, with information released only on a need-to-know basis within the campus community and in accordance with Federal and State laws and regulations. Management shall be sensitive and responsive to the potential for fear of reprisal by employees or students who report threats or acts of violence. This policy prohibits retaliation against any person who, in good faith, reports a violation of this policy. Every effort will be made to protect the safety and anonymity of anyone who comes forward with concerns about a threat or act of violence.
It is the responsibility of every administrator, faculty member, staff member, and student to take any threat or violent act seriously and to report acts of violence or threats to the appropriate authorities as set forth in this policy.
Department heads, division deans, directors, and supervisors are also responsible for communicating the policy to all employees under their supervision, ensuring that facilities are as safe as feasible, identifying and providing violence prevention training to employees as appropriate, and ensuring that all employees are aware of how to report potential threats.
The Virginia Western Campus Police Department will coordinate College actions in case of a violent incident on campus or in the workplace, establish and publish procedures for campus and workplace violence prevention and threat assessment, and investigate threats or incidents of violence. Only the Virginia Western Campus Police or other law enforcement agencies should attempt to apprehend the alleged offender. The Chief of Campus Police shall serve as an active member of the "Care Team" and the Threat Assessment Team.
Human Resources will coordinate employee-related preventive measures, including conducting criminal conviction checks in accordance with State, VCCS, and College policies, providing awareness programs to new employees, coordinating referrals to the employee assistance program, advising employees and managers, making referrals to the "Care Team," and providing assistance to the Student Services function to deliver support for victims of violence. The Human Resources Director shall serve as an active member of the "Care Team".
Student Services will coordinate student-related preventive measures including training for professional counselors, faculty, and staff on identifying troubled individuals and training students through the process of reporting threats or acts of violence. The Student Conduct Committee is responsible for responding to and adjudicating violations of College policies for student life. The Dean of Student Services will serve as the Chair of the "Care Team," the goal of which is to coordinate support services and administrative response to crises involving students, assessing behavioral threats and taking the necessary actions to address and prevent threats and violence to the campus community.
The Campus Safety and Security Committee will develop and coordinate the College's emergency response plan (refer to the VWCC Crisis Management Plan) and coordinate emergency preparedness training for College administrators, Building Emergency Coordinators/Alternates/Floor Captains, and employees in partnership with VWCC Campus Police, Human Resources, Student Services, Public Relations, and other offices as appropriate. Appropriate training programs and information will be developed for employees and students.
For immediate assistance in an emergency (e.g., assault, direct threat of violence, suicide attempt, an incident involving drugs, weapons, etc.) or to report any crime in progress call 911 or Campus Police (7-7979). The Campus Police are authorized by the state judicial system to perform the same law enforcement functions as local and State police.
3.1 Reporting Incidents
Any individual who believes there is an immediate danger to the health or safety of any member of the College community should call the VWCC Campus Police at 857-7979.
General questions about the Campus and Workplace Violence Prevention Policy should be directed to the VWCC Campus Police Department, Human Resources Office, or Student Services. Questions about specific issues may also be directed to:
- Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services (857-6310)
- Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs (857-7313)
- Dean of Student Services (857-6348)
- Advising and Retention Services (857-7237)
- REACH/Student Support Services (857-7286)
- VWCC Chief of Campus Police (857-7797)
- Human Resources Director (857-6333)
An anonymous report may be filed with the Campus Police at Police@virginiawestem.edu. To contact Campus Police by phone, dial 857-7979. In addition, emergency call stations which, when pressed, dial the VWCC Police Department automatically, are located in every elevator, at the southwest comer of Craig Hall, in the Court of Four Seasons (between Fishburn and Anderson Halls), at the bottom of the steps between Webber Hall and the Student Activities Center, and at Parking Lot 8-E behind Anderson Hall. The Police Department office is located in the College Services Building on the eastern end of the campus at the intersection of Colonial Avenue and Overland Road.
3.2 Support for Victims
The College shall make efforts to provide a campus and workplace flee from violence and to protect and support victims and those threatened or exposed to acts or threats of workplace violence by offering security measures and identifying appropriate resources for providing support and assistance. Victims may also need special accommodations or adjustments to their work or class schedules, locations, or working conditions in order to enhance their safety. The College shall accommodate these requests and needs whenever possible and appropriate.
3.3 Security Planning for Potentially At-Risk Employees and Students
Vice Presidents, deans, managers, and supervisors are responsible for (a) formulating and implementing a response plan to deal with disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior in their unit or department and (b) reporting such behavior to Campus Police, the Human Resources Director, and the President. All employees shall report disruptive, threatening, and/or violent behavior immediately. Failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this policy.
Some employees can be at risk for violence/hostility because of the nature of their jobs. Other employees or students can be at risk because they are subject to violence, threats, or harassment from a current or former spouse or partner, or other non-employee. The VWCC Campus Police Department, Human Resources, Student Services, and other offices will work with at-risk students and employees, and their supervisors, to develop safety plans that address the specific risks they face.
3.4 Pre-employment Screening and Criminal Conviction Checks
Human Resources administers the College's Criminal History and Motor Vehicle Record Investigation policy and will work with hiring managers to ensure that criminal conviction checks are conducted in accordance with the policy. Hiring managers are responsible for ensuring that Human Resources receives in a timely manner all documentation necessary to conduct the criminal history check.
An at-risk individual is defined as an employee, student, or other person who is a potential target or victim.
Assault is committed when one person (a) tries to or does physically strike another or (b) acts in a threatening manner to put another in fear of immediate harm.
Aggravated assault is defined as a completed or attempted attack with a weapon and an attack without a weapon in which the victim is seriously injured.
Campus is defined as any location, either permanent or temporary, owned or leased by Virginia Western. This includes, but is not limited to, the buildings, grounds, and the surrounding perimeters, including parking lots, field locations, classrooms, common areas, and alternate class locations, and any College owned or leased vehicles for travel to and from work assignments.
A credible threat of violence is defined as a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to believe that he or she is under threat of death or serious bodily injury. A course of conduct is any series of acts over a period of time, however short, that evidences a continuity of purpose, such as following or stalking an individual to or from the workplace/campus, telephone calls to the employee or student, and correspondence with the employee or student, whether by public or private mail, e-mail, inter-office mail, or fax.
Disruptive behavior is defined as behavior that disturbs, interferes with, or prevents normal work activities. Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to, yelling, using profanity, waving arms and fists, verbally abusing others, making inappropriate demands for time and attention, making unreasonable demands for action, or refusing a reasonable request for identification.
Employee, for purposes of this policy, is defined as any full-time faculty-rank or classified employee, hourly/wage classified or student employee, adjunct faculty, work/study student in the performance of duties, intern, or volunteer performing work directly for the College.
Firearms are defined in Section 2.2 of this policy.
Intimidation is engaging in actions that include, but are not limited to, stalking or behavior intended to frighten, coerce, or induce duress.
Physical attack is unwanted or hostile physical contact such as hitting, fighting, pushing, shoving, or throwing objects.
Property damage is intentional damage to property and includes property owned or leased by the College, employees, students, volunteers, visitors, or vendors.
Sexual assault is defined as any forcible sexual activity that occurs without the consent of the victim. It includes, but is not limited to, unwanted kissing and fondling, forcible vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse, and forcible penetration with an object or finger. Consent is an agreement reached without force, coercion, or intimidation between persons. Forcible sexual activity occurs when consent is not reached or when the victim is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.
Stalking is defined as repeatedly contacting another person when the contact is unwanted. Additionally, the conduct may cause the other person reasonable apprehension of imminent physical harm or cause substantial impairment of the other person's ability to perform the activities of daily life. Contact includes, but is not limited to, communicating with (either in person, by phone, or computer) or remaining in the physical presence of the other person.
Student is defined as any individual who has enrolled in any credit or non-credit offerings of the College and who has not yet graduated or ceased regular attendance in the course(s) in which enrollment has occurred. If a student's enrollment lapses for more than one semester, the student will no longer be subject to disciplinary action under this policy.
Student employee is defined as any work/study student or student wage employee on the College payroll.
Stun weapon (taser) means any device that emits a momental3, or pulsed output that is electrical, audible, optical, or electromagnetic in nature and which is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person.
Third parties are individuals who are not state employees or students, such as relatives, visitors, acquaintances, contractual workers, vendors, volunteers, customers, clients, or strangers.
Threat is the expression of intent to cause physical or mental harm. An expression constitutes a threat without regard to whether the party communicating the threat has the present ability to carry it out and without regard to whether the expression is contingent, conditional, or future.
Threatening behavior is defined as behavior that includes physical actions short of actual contact/injury (e.g., moving closer aggressively) and general verbal or written threats to people or property, as well as implicit threats.
Victim is defined as an individual who has experienced or witnessed an act or acts of violence or threats of violence as outlined in this policy.
Violence includes, but is not limited to, intimidation, threats, physical attack, domestic violence, or property damage and includes acts of violence committed by College employees, students, clients, customers, relatives, acquaintances, or strangers against College employees in the workplace, but does not include lawful acts of self-defense or the defense of others.
Weapons are defined in Section 2.2 of this policy.
Workplace is any location, either permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes, but is not limited to, the buildings and the surrounding perimeters, including parking lots, field locations, classrooms, alternate work locations, and College owned or leased vehicles used for travel to and from work assignments.
- Code of Virginia, Section 23-9:10 - Violence Prevention Committee; Threat Assessment Team
- Jeanne Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act
- VWCC Faculty Handbook
- VWCC Classified Employee Handbook
- VWCC Student Handbook
- VCCS Policy Manual
- Department of Human Resource Management Policy 1.80, Workplace Violence
- Department of Human Resource Management Police 2.30, Workplace Harassment
- VWCC Crisis Management Plan
- VWCC Policy on Consensual Relations
- VWCC Workplace Harassment Policy
- State Board for Community Colleges Regulation 8VAC95-10-10 et seq., Regulation of Weapons