Whether you have kids or attend college, you may be wondering how school zones affect concealed carry. The laws regarding carrying a gun on school grounds or, more specifically, concealed carry in schools, can get quite confusing, and many people don’t know the actual laws.
In reality, federal laws are quite lenient on carrying a gun on school grounds, but each state has its own restrictions on CCW on school grounds. Most states do not allow weapons on campus regardless of whether you have a concealed carry permit or not.
Keep in mind that we are not lawyers, so if you want specific information regarding carrying on school grounds for your state, check your state laws or ask a lawyer. But let’s talk about some questions you most likely want answered, starting with are all schools a gun free zone?
Are All Schools Gun Free Zones?
Like we mentioned above, each state has its own rules and regulations regarding gun free zones on school grounds. Some school districts have even further restrictions beyond what state and federal laws set in place.
In some states, all schools are gun free zones. This could include colleges, preschools, or even churches that have a daycare on site. Other states have fewer restrictions, and colleges may not be included in the gun free school zone laws.
Keep in mind that oftentimes these laws apply to any school property, such as bus stops and buses in addition to the campus. So, if you want to play it on the safe side, you can assume all schools are gun free zones. But if you have any questions regarding CCW on school grounds for your state, you should consult your state and school district’s rules and regulations.
Can I Have a Gun in My Car in a School Parking Lot?
In some states, yes, you can have your gun in your car in a school parking lot. Other states may not allow them on school property at all, even if they are in your car. Sometimes you may be required to have it unloaded or in a secure location that is not easily accessible. It depends on the state you live in.
For our home state, the State of Florida, you are allowed to have your gun securely encased or not readily accessible in your car on school grounds. But each Florida school district is allowed to impose further restrictions that may not allow the possession of weapon on school property at all, even in your car.
So, some states may allow a gun to be in your vehicle on school property, but it is different for every state and possibly every school district.
Can I Carry After School Hours?
Imagine your child is in a preschool performance at the end of the year. You are super excited to go and see your little one in their show tomorrow evening. You have your concealed carry permit and typically carry, but you know you aren’t allowed to concealed carry in schools in your state. This is after school hours, though, so can you carry?
Typically gun restrictions still apply to school grounds even after school hours. The laws apply to school property even when school is not in session. So if you are going to your kids’ school to watch them perform, gun zone laws still apply.
Many times even school sanctioned events are included in any restrictions, so if you are attending a football game or going on a school related field trip with your kid, school zone laws may still apply.
As we’ve mentioned before, if you aren’t sure exactly what rules apply to being on school grounds after hours or while in attendance at school sanctioned events, it is best to consult your state laws for accurate and up to date information.
Are There Any Exceptions to Concealed Carry on School Property?
As with many things regarding gun laws, any exceptions to concealed carry restrictions on school grounds are set in place by the individual state and sometimes the school. In most states, the only exceptions to these laws are for law enforcement.
For some states, even law enforcement officials have certain rules they have to follow when entering school property. Other states, as mentioned previously, allow guns on school property if they are secured in a vehicle.
States like Arizona and Kansas, which are constitutional carry states, may not have as harsh restrictions on CCW on school grounds, but beyond federal regulations, it is up to the state and school to set those in place.
So, yes, some states have exceptions to gun free zone laws when it comes to school grounds. If you are unsure of any exceptions to your state’s laws about concealed carry on a school’s property, check with your individual state or contact a lawyer.
When it comes to gun laws, things can get confusing. Beyond laws set in place at the federal level, each state also sets restrictions on carrying guns. At the federal level, restrictions on carrying on school grounds are quite lenient, but at the state level, there are often more advanced restrictions that, more often than not, don’t allow guns on school property.
Most of the time gun free zone laws for schools are applied to all educational institutions, including colleges, preschools, and daycare centers. Each state and school district sets its own restrictions on having guns in a vehicle on school property. Even after school hours and at school sanctioned events restrictions on carrying apply. Typically the only people who have exceptions to these laws are law enforcement, but they may still be required to alert the school that they are on school property and carrying a firearm.
Ultimately, if you have questions about CCW on school grounds with or without a permit, it is best to consult your state’s laws in addition to your school district for any additional restrictions.
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