Back-to-School Issues and Guns
Matt Kilgo, Independent Program Attorney:
In Georgia some of the most frequently asked questions are: “Can I carry a firearm onto a school campus?” Middle school, high school, or college.
These are complex questions, but I think we have some good answers for you.
Let’s talk generally about schools.
Back-to-school for a Weapons-Carry License Holder
A weapons-carry license holder CAN carry on to school property to pick up and drop off students. Now weapons-carry license holders, there are certain places you can go. If you do NOT have a weapons-carry license you cannot carry on the school property, or through a school zone. If you do and you’re caught it’s a felony. If your weapons-carry license holder and you’re caught out of bounds on school property then it’s a misdemeanor.
But weapons-carry license holders can carry in their vehicle when they’re picking up or dropping off students. They can also keep the firearm in a locked compartment or container within a locked vehicle when they leave the vehicle and go on to school property.
You cannot carry in the sports venues.
You can’t carry at school functions ,so even if the school function is off school property you can’t carry in the school function. So those dances that occur in downtown Atlanta. Can’t carry into those functions.
You can leave it in the parking lot when you go to the school football game. But you certainly cannot carry into the football game.
In order to pick up and drop off with one in the car, you must be above the age of 21 years, which means students cannot carry. Students can’t carry on to the property and leave them in their car either.
Back-to-school for Teachers
Teachers, with the proper authorization from the duly authorized administrator or your local school board, would be given authority to carry into the school, but those rules are very strictly followed and strictly regulated through the statutes in Georgia. So you have to refer to your local school board your school authority—they have to give you permission. There are certain ways that you have to be licensed, and training that has to be taken before you can do that. So please don’t carry without the permission of your school board if you are an administrator or a teacher. They’ve got to do that for you.
So weapons-carry license holders picking up and dropping off is OK in the vehicle. Leaving it in the vehicle when it’s in a locked container or compartment when you attend the school or a school function.
Back-to-school and Campus Carry in 2017
Now let’s talk about campus carry in 2017.
The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 280 that was signed by the governor that does allow for campus carry—a lot of restrictions to this law. So listen closely.
First and foremost, again, you MUST be a weapons-carry license holder. Not only that, it’s only for handguns, and only for handguns that you conceal. With a weapons-carry license and a concealed handgun you CAN carry on to a public university property.
You can’t carry in private schools. Private schools do still restrict that, and it is still restricted in private schools. Public schools you do have access to. Public colleges and universities. Must be concealed. Must be a handgun. You must have a weapons-carry license. You cannot carry into any stadium or sports venue.
You cannot carry into any dormitory or student housing including fraternity houses.
If you go into a building, you cannot carry into any space in that building that houses faculty or administrative offices, child care facilities, rooms or spaces where high school students take classes.
A lot of restrictions to this but on a general level, with a weapons-carry license, and concealed handgun you can carry on to Georgia college campuses public universities.
Thanks Matt for clearing up some questions my wife an I had about school caring being she works for a school system.As I understand what you are saying here,as a licensed carrier she can keep her hand gun locked in her car on campus.
To carry on campus, do you have to be an actual registered student or does this apply to any holder?
Hi Mark. Thanks for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Georgia.
“The change in O.C.G.A. §16-11-127.1(c)(20)(A) allowing campus carry apply to “[a]ny weapons carry license holder”, so it isn’t necessary that you be a student. The changes are very clear, however, and about the who and where of carry: you must be a Weapons Carry License holder; the exception for carry only applies to concealed handguns; and – perhaps most importantly – the exception only applies on the grounds of public institutions of post-secondary education, not private ones. Be sure to follow the rules on where you can’t carry as well: sporting venues, dormitories and fraternity/sorority houses, admin offices, etc.”
I am 50 years old and not a college student but I just have a question in reference to public colleges and universities dormitories. According to the law you cannot carry in a dormitory or fraternity house so my question is if I were student living in a dormitory on campus. Do I have to leave my firearm in my vehicle? I just want to know the general rule.
Hi Flavio. Thanks for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Georgia.
“No firearms at all in “buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to, fraternity and sorority houses”, O.C.G.A. §16-11-127.1(c)(20)(A)(i). I don’t know if I would ever recommend leaving a firearm in a vehicle unattended, but you certainly can’t bring it into student housing.”
This is a great summary of a new law that is easy to follow. This is the sort of information that is very helpful for all of us law abiding citizens that want to stay that way. Keep it coming.
Sheeesh. With all the rules, seems like the concealed carry law just signed is a paper tiger. But it is a start.
What constitutes a “locked compartment ” for my p/u truck? No trunk,no lock on glove box or center console.
Not to be picky, but articles need to be edited for proper conventions and clarity.
“They can also keep the firearm in a locked compartment or container within a locked vehicle when they leave the vehicle and go on to school property.” Does that mean they have to park off school property and then go onto school property OR can they drive onto school property with gun already locked up OR lock it up after they drive onto school property?
“You can leave it in the parking lot when you go to the school football game.” Does that mean it also has to be locked up in a compartment or container like when actually on school property OR simply left in a locked vehicle?
How about a complete thought: “So weapons-carry license holders picking up and dropping off is OK in the vehicle.” The following isn’t even a sentence: “Leaving it in the vehicle when it’s in a locked container or compartment when you attend the school or a school function.”
“Private schools do still restrict that, and it is still restricted in private schools.” Did I miss something here?
Sorry, but rather than clarify, the article just left a whole lot of questions!