State Guns in Schools

Guns in Schools in Alabama

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Subject to limited exceptions, Alabama law prohibits knowingly, with intent to do bodily harm, carrying or possessing a firearm on the premises of a public school.1 The term “public school” applies only to a school composed of grades K-12, but includes a school bus used for grades K-12.2 Alabama law also requires the expulsion of any student, for a period of one year, who has possessed a firearm in a school building, on school grounds, on school buses, or at other school-sponsored functions.3 Alabama has no law restricting firearms on the campuses of colleges or universities.

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72. The term “deadly weapon” includes any firearm. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72. []
  2. Id. []
  3. Ala. Code § 16-1-24.3. []

Guns in Schools in Alaska

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Alaska prohibits guns in schools. Alaska generally prohibits the knowing possession of a firearm, carried openly or concealed, at any preschool, elementary, junior high or secondary school, including the buildings, grounds, parking lots or school buses, without the permission of the chief administrative officer of the school or district.1 Students are also prohibited from knowingly possessing a firearm within the buildings of, on the grounds of, or on the school parking lot of a public or private preschool, elementary, junior high, or secondary school, on a school bus while being transported to or from school or a school-sponsored event, or while participating in a school-sponsored event, unless the student has obtained the prior permission of the chief administrative officer or his or her designee of the school or district.2

Alaska also prohibits concealed weapons permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun in these locations.3

Alaska has no specific statutes or regulations restricting firearms on college or university property.

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.210(a)(8). []
  2. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.210(a)(8). []
  3. Alaska Stat. § 18.65.755. []

Guns in Schools in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Arizona prohibits the possession of a firearm on the grounds of any public or nonpublic kindergarten program, common school or high school, except for use in a program approved by the school.1 However, an adult may carry an unloaded firearm within a means of transportation on school grounds, provided that if the adult leaves the means of transportation, the firearm must not be visible from the outside, and the means of transportation must be locked.2 In addition, the governing board of a school district must prescribe and enforce policies and procedures prohibiting weapons on school grounds without specific authorization from the school administrator.3

Arizona administrative regulations govern the possession of firearms on the grounds of state colleges and universities.4

See our Guns in Schools Policy Summary for further information.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3102(A)(12), (H), (M)(4). []
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3102(H). []
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-341(A)(23). []
  4. Ariz. Admin. Code § 7-4-102(3). []

Guns in Schools in Arkansas

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Arkansas prohibits the possession of a firearm, concealed or unconcealed:

  • Upon the developed property of the public or private schools, K-12;
  • In or upon any school bus; or
  • At a designated bus stop as identified on the route lists published by school districts each year.1

Arkansas prohibits possession of a handgun on the property of any private or publicly-supported institution of higher education, either on the person, in a vehicle, or otherwise readily available for use with the purpose to employ it as a weapon against a person.2 The Arkansas Attorney General has opined that persons licensed to carry a concealed handgun are not subject to this provision.3

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-119(b)(1). []
  2. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-119(c)(1). []
  3. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 2003-372 (2003), 2003 Ark. AG LEXIS 407. []

Guns in Schools in California

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Grades K through 12: California prohibits any person from possessing a firearm in a place that person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone.1 “School zone” is defined as an area in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades one to twelve, inclusive, or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of the public or private school.2 However, a person may possess a firearm in a school zone:

  • By written permission of the school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority;3
  • Within a place of residence or place of business or on private property, if that location is not part of the school grounds and the possession of the firearm is otherwise lawful;4
  • When the firearm is an unloaded handgun and is in a locked container or within the locked trunk of a motor vehicle;5
  • For the lawful transportation of any other firearm, other than a handgun, in accordance with state law;6
  • When the person possessing the firearm reasonably believes that he or she is in grave danger because of circumstances forming the basis of a current restraining order issued by a court against another person or persons who has or have been found to pose a threat to his or her life or safety.7 This exception does not apply in certain circumstances involving a mutual restraining order;8
  • When the person is a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, importer, or wholesaler, or a member of an authorized military or civilian organization when parading, and the gun is unloaded;9 or
  • When the person is a guard or messenger of a common carrier or bank who, within the course of his or her employment, transports or delivers money or other valuables.10

Concealed weapons license holders are also exempt from this prohibition and may carry handguns in schools or school zones.11

See the Non-Powder Guns in California section for information about non-powder guns in schools.

The principal or superintendent of a school or school system must immediately suspend, and recommend the expulsion of, any pupil that he or she determines has possessed a firearm, or sold or furnished a firearm to others, either at school or at a school activity off school grounds, provided that another employee of the school district has verified the pupil’s possession of a firearm.12 However, a pupil may obtain prior written permission to possess a firearm from a certificated school employee, if the principal or a designee of the principal concurs.13

The superintendent or principal of a school is also authorized to suspend and recommend for expulsion any pupil who possesses an imitation firearm. An “imitation firearm” is any replica of a firearm that is so substantially similar in physical properties to an existing firearm that a reasonable person would consider it a firearm.14

With limited exceptions, no person may carry ammunition or reloaded ammunition onto school grounds.15

Colleges and universities: California prohibits any person from bringing or possessing a firearm, loaded or unloaded, upon the grounds of a public or private university or college campus, or any buildings owned or operated for student housing, teaching, research, or administration by a public or private university or college, which are contiguous or are clearly marked university property.16 Universities and colleges must post prominent notices at primary entrances on non-contiguous school property stating that firearms are prohibited on that property. Concealed weapons licensees are exempt from this prohibition.17 Possession of a firearm on university or college property is also allowed if the university or college president or an equivalent authority has granted permission in writing.18

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(b). []
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(e)(1). []
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(b). []
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(c)(1). []
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(c)(2). []
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(c)(2). []
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(c)(3). []
  8. Id. (referencing Cal. Fam. Code § 6200 et seq.). []
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(c)(4) (referencing § 25615). []
  10. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(c)(4) (referencing §§ 25630 and 25645). []
  11. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(l). []
  12. Cal. Educ. Code §§ 48900(b), 48915(c). []
  13. Id. []
  14. Cal. Educ. Code § 48900(m). []
  15. Cal. Penal Code § 30310. []
  16. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(h), (i). []
  17. Cal. Penal Code § 626.9(l). []
  18. Id. []

Guns in Schools in Colorado

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Colorado prohibits any person from knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carrying, bringing, or having in his or her possession a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded,1 in or on the property of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high or vocational school.2

Exceptions to this prohibition include:

  • Presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class;
  • Carrying out the necessary duties of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon;
  • Participating in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team;
  • Possession of a firearm in the lawful possessor’s dwelling or place of business, or on property owned or under that person’s control at the time of possession;
  • Possession in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for protection of that person, another person, or their property while traveling;
  • Possession of a handgun pursuant to a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit, except if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of state law that prohibits possession of a concealed handgun onto the property of a public elementary, middle, junior high or high school; or
  • Possession of a firearm for use in an educational program approved by a school that includes, but is not limited to, any course designed for the repair or maintenance of weapons.3

A concealed handgun permittee may only carry a handgun on the property of a public elementary, middle, junior high or high school if he or she is: 1) on duty as a security guard for the school; 2) within his or her private vehicle (if the permittee is not with the vehicle, the handgun must be within a closed compartment within the locked vehicle); or 3) upon undeveloped property owned by a school district used for hunting or shooting sports.4

Colorado provides mandatory expulsion from public school by any student who carries, brings, uses or possesses a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, without the authorization of the school or the school district.5 Carrying, bringing or possessing a firearm without the authorization of the school or the school district does not require mandatory expulsion if, when the student discovers that he or she has carried, brought, or is in possession of the firearm, he or she notifies a teacher, administrator, or other authorized person in the school district as soon as possible and delivers the firearm to the teacher, administrator or other authorized person.6

Colleges and Universities

Colorado prohibits any person from knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carrying, bringing, or having in his or her possession a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded,7 in or on the property of any public or private college, university or seminary.8

Exceptions to this prohibition include:

  • Presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class;
  • Carrying out the necessary duties of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon;
  • Participating in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team;
  • Possession of an unloaded firearm while remaining inside of a motor vehicle upon the property of any public or private college, university or seminary;
  • Possession of a firearm in the lawful possessor’s dwelling or place of business, or on property owned or under that person’s control at the time of possession;
  • Possession in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for protection of that person, another person, or their property while traveling;
  • Possession of a handgun pursuant to a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit; or
  • Possession of a firearm for use in an educational program approved by a school that includes, but shall not be limited to, any course designed for the repair or maintenance of weapons.9

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. As defined under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-901(3)(e). []
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1). []
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1), (3). []
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-214(3). []
  5. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-106(1)(d)(I), (II). []
  6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-106(1)(d)(III). []
  7. As defined under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-901(3)(e). []
  8. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1). []
  9. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1), (3). []

Guns in Schools in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated May 9, 2012.)

Connecticut prohibits any person from possessing a firearm, knowing that he or she is not licensed or privileged to do so: 1) in or on the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school; or 2) at a school-sponsored activity.1

This prohibition does not apply to gun possession:

  • For use in a program approved by school officials in or on school property or at the school-sponsored activity;
  • In accordance with an agreement entered into between school officials and the possessor or the possessor’s employer; or
  • While traversing school property for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting or for other lawful purposes, provided the firearm is not loaded and the entry on school property is permitted by the local or regional board of education.2

Connecticut requires expulsion hearings for any student who: 1) possessed a firearm on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity; 2) possessed a firearm off school grounds in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-35 (carrying a handgun without a permit); or 3) possessed and used a firearm in the commission of a crime.3 If found to have possessed and/or used a firearm, the pupil will be expelled for one calendar year. The board of education or the hearing board may modify the period of expulsion for a pupil on a case-by-case basis.4

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217b(a). []
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217b(b). []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-233d(a)(2). []
  4. Id. []

Guns in Schools in Delaware

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Delaware prohibits any juvenile from possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon while in or on a “Safe School and Recreation Zone.”1

Delaware prohibits any person from committing any of the following state offenses in or on a “Safe School and Recreation Zone:”

  • Carrying a concealed deadly weapon, including a concealable firearm (state law does not exempt concealed weapons permit holders from this prohibition);
  • Possessing a destructive weapon; or
  • Possession and purchase of deadly weapons by a person prohibited from such activities.2

A “Safe School and Recreation Zone” is defined as:

  • Any building, structure, athletic field, sports stadium or real property owned, operated, leased or rented by any public or private school including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary or vocational-technical school, or any college or university, within 1,000 feet thereof;
  • Any motor vehicle owned, operated, leased or rented by any public or private school including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary or vocational-technical school, or any college or university; or
  • Any building or structure owned, operated, leased or rented by any county or municipality, or the state, or any board, agency, commission, department, corporation or other entity thereof, or any private organization, which is utilized as a recreation center, athletic field or sports stadium.3

Affirmative defenses to these prohibitions include:

  • Weapons possessed pursuant to an authorized course of school instruction, or for the purpose of engaging in any school-authorized sporting or recreational activity;4 or
  • That the prohibited conduct took place entirely within a private residence, and that no person under age 18 was present in such private residence at any time during the commission of the offense.5

In Delaware, any elementary or secondary school student who possesses a firearm or other deadly weapon in a “Safe School and Recreation Zone” shall be expelled by the local school board or charter school board of directors for a period of not less than 180 days unless otherwise provided for in federal or state law. The local school board or charter school board of directors may, on a case by case basis, modify the terms of the expulsion.6

Delaware requires certain institutions of higher learning to publish rules and regulations governing the possession and use of firearms on campus by employees, students and visitors.7

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1457(a). []
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1457(a), (b). []
  3. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1457(c). []
  4. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1457(f). []
  5. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1457(g). []
  6. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1457(j)(5). For state administrative regulations implementing the federal Gun Free Schools Act, 20 U.S.C. § 7151, see 14-600-603 Del. Code Regs. §§ 1.0 – 3.0. []
  7. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 9004(b)(6). []

Guns in Schools in Florida

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

A Florida license to carry a concealed firearm does not authorize a person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed firearm into:

  • Any elementary or secondary school administration building;
  • Any elementary or secondary school facility;
  • Any area technical center;
  • Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms; or
  • Any college or university facility.1

Florida law also prohibits a person who is trespassing on school property from possessing a firearm. “School property” means the grounds or facility of any kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic.2

School districts in Florida must each adopt a student code of conduct that includes notice that possession of a firearm by any student while on school property or in attendance at a school function may result in disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.3 School districts may also adopt written and published policies that prohibit the possession of concealed firearms within the interior of a private vehicle for the purposes of student and campus parking privileges.4

Florida law gives the board of trustees of a community college the authority to place restrictions on access to firearms on community college-owned or controlled buildings and grounds.5 The board of trustees of a state university has similar authority, as developed through the guidelines of the Board of Governors of the State University System.6

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(12). []
  2. Fla. Stat. § 810.095. []
  3. Fla. Stat. § 1006.07(2)(g), (k). See also Fla. Stat. § 1006.13(3)(a) (mandating expulsion for students who possess a firearm at school). []
  4. Fla. Stat. § 790.115(2)(a)(3). “School” means any preschool, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or private. Id. []
  5. Fla. Stat. § 1001.64(5). []
  6. Fla. Stat. §§ 1001.706(7)(b). []

Guns in Schools in Georgia

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Georgia law bars any person (including the holder of a “weapons carry” license) from carrying, possessing or having under the person’s control any firearm while within a school safety zone or at a school building, school function, or school property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school.1 Among other exceptions, this prohibition does not apply to:

  • An instrument used for classroom work authorized by the teacher;
  • Participants in organized sports shooting events or firearms training courses;
  • A person authorized in writing by a school official to have in his or her possession or use the firearm as part of an activity conducted at a school building, school property, or school function;
  • A holder of a weapons carry license who is carrying or picking up a student or on a bus or other school-furnished transportation;
  • A holder of a weapons carry license when he or she has a weapon legally kept within a vehicle parked at the school property or is in transit through a designated school zone;
  • A handgun under the control of a weapons carry license holder in a locked compartment, container or firearms rack in or on a motor vehicle being used by a non-student adult over 21 to bring or pick up a student or on school-furnished transportation, or to transport someone to an activity being conducted on school property authorized by a school official; or
  • A person residing or transacting lawful business or visiting such resident located within a school safety zone but outside a school building, school property, a school function, or school-furnished transportation.2

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(b). []
  2. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(a)(2), (c), (d)(1). Regarding the suspension or expulsion of students who have carried a firearm in school, see Ga. Code Ann. §§ 20-2-751.1(a), 20-2-751(4). []