Back to School
Do you have kids heading back to school in the Sunshine State? Let U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney David Katz explain the laws in Florida regarding guns and schools:
The possession of a firearm on school grounds is generally illegal with few exceptions.
Florida Statute 790.06 contains several subsections that explicitly prohibit the carrying and possession of a firearm on school grounds.
Firearms are not allowed at any school or college athletic event not related to firearms.
Florida law broadens this prohibition by applying it to all school-sponsored events and school property.
A person may not possess a firearm or other weapon at a school-sponsored event or on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop, subject to the exceptions explained below, found in Florida statute 790.115.
This includes the grounds of any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building and career centers.
Florida does not allow for the concealed or open carry of firearms on university or college campuses.
However, if an individual is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of the college or university, they may carry a stun gun or non-lethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes, if it does not fire a dart or projectile. Further, recent court decisions have approved having a firearm securely encased in one’s vehicle on a college or university property.
As mentioned previously a person may carry under one of the few exceptions laid out in Section 790.115(2)(a).
A firearm can be carried in a case to a firearms program, class, or function that has been approved in advance by the principal or chief administrative officer of the school, as a program or class to which firearms may be carried or carried in a case to a career center having a firearms training range.
What about parking lots? Or when you pick up your kids or drop them off at school?
Concealed firearms can be carried without a license in a vehicle under Florida law as long as the person is 18 or older and the firearm is securely encased or otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.
This extends to the carrying of a firearm in a person’s vehicle on the grounds of a school or at a school activity.
However, school districts are free to adopt written and published policies that waive this exception for purposes of student and campus parking privileges.
This means that while firearms in vehicles on school parking lots are legal under state law, and an individual school may have a policy that makes it illegal to have one on the lot. Further, even in a parking lot of a school that does not have a policy prohibiting firearms on the property, firearms still may not be taken out of the vehicle or into a school building.
Finally, it is important to remember that under the federal Gun Free School Zone Act unless you have a CWFL, you are committing a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison if you carry a firearm within a thousand feet of a gun-free school zone.
So if you are not a concealed weapons and firearm licensee, avoid driving in or near school zones in Florida.”
Carrying a firearm within a thousand feet of a gun free school zone is ridiculous. Before I got my CW license I passed by schools all the time. What about people that live next to a school that don’t have a permit. They could go to prison and not even know the law. You can’t carry a weapon on school property that should be sufficient for any law.
Public property ends at Private property, and Castle Doctrine with ‘Stand your Ground’ laws begin. Stay calm, don’t get excited.
I find the Florida law problematic. Criminals do not obey the law, so the State is basically assuring that no citizen may respond to an attack on school property. How many license holders have been arrested commiting crimes on school property? It has to be a much smaller number than those bringing guns to school for attacks. Unless every scool is going to institute armed guards and scanning as done at most courthouses, the policy is easy to neglect. Also, school fences do not prevent armed criminals from climbing onto school property. There is much more to consider, as the history of disasters at schools shows that the laws are not working as intended in many states. Any gun-free zone merely assures that the lawless have an advantage; that does not make sense to me.
Additionally, about stun guns — if they use “no” projectiles, how do the wires deploy? This is a case where lawyers do not understand either English of simple physics.
How about church-sponsored volunteer armed security for a church that has kids classes on Sunday?
Hi Mike. Thanks for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Florida.
“In order to carry a firearm on the property of a school, including a church with Sunday school, you must have a G-license and be hired through a security company.”
What is the rule for a licensed Concealed Carry permit holder when dropping of kids, at school or driving on school property. Does the CWFL have to remove his weapon from his person before dropping of his kids and secure it in a different location not easily accessible ??????
Hi Neil. Thanks for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Florida.
“A CWFL holder who has his firearm securely encased and not readily accessible can drop his children off at school with the firearm in the vehicle per Florida Statute 790.25(5). A school district can adopt written policies waiving this exception for student and campus parking purposes, therefore, you should check with the school district prior to entering the property.”
Responsible firearm owners should be able to carry in school . After what happened when all those innocent children were shot.If o e teacher or worker had a CCL WHO KNOWS maybe it would have turned out different. Just an opinion Am not going to argue with anyone that doesn’t agree.
Would a 357 revolver in a holster with a strap around the hammer placed between the drivers seat and the console of a vehicle be classified as being encased?
Hi Daniel. Thanks for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Florida.
“Even if this would be considered encased, if it is visible, it is not concealed. The firearm must also be concealed. Without seeing the holster I will not give an opinion because I do not want to give bad advice. Generally, a firearm can be in a holster with a strap securing it in place, which snaps, buckles, or velcros shut.”
1) above, you say that a “individual schooll” may adopt rules. In your answer to Neil, you say school district. That is not the same thing. The law says District, otherwise you could have hundreds of different so-called laws.
2) If you drop your kid on the way to work, a District can abolish your Florida Constitution right to self defense all day in violation of the vast proclamations by the legislature in 790FS.
3) It is solving the wrong problem, ie parents are not attacking children at school.
4) No point in invoking the 2cnd Amendment to the US Constitution if a school officer can arrest you in Florida (unconstitutional or not, who wants a gun fight to defend your rights at school.)
So how does it apply to me when I am driving my car past a school on the way to a supermarket???
Hi Jeffrey. Thanks for your question! We need a few more details in order to give you the best response. Please contact Member Services at (877) 448-6839 so they can put you in contact with one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Florida who will be able to further assist you.
What about if a third party rents space at a school on a weekend so it is not a school function just rented space in the building?
This is a great question. If you’re a member, please call our non-emergency line to get an answer from an independent program attorney at 877-448-6839.
Thank you for this update. I have my CWFL and also a student. I leave a firearm in my car, and do not carry on campus. From learning these laws, I have written down the statue number and will keep it near my firearm.
I was also curious about non-firing self defense items, such as pocket knives and pepper spray, and this email clarified it for me.
Once again, Thank you.
I guess no one knows what “shall not be infringed” means!
Thanks for keeping all of us updated and informed.
I conceal carry at church each Sunday. I also have a CDL to drive large trucks and I am asked to be a substitute bus driver at church since I have the passenger endorsement. Is it unlawful for me to conceal carry while driving the church bus?
That last paragraph about the Gun Free School Zone Act is ridiculous. Within one thousand feet of a school zone? That’s almost a qarter mile. There are probably millions of households within that extended “zone”. Criminals will not obey that law anyway, but that potentially makes federal felons out of law abiding citizens.
There are to many interpretations of the law the work against those who have CCWL. I have attended special classes to better understand the law and once again where I would be right, I could get arrested and have to get a lawyer to defend me to proved I was not at fault. Now I have insurance to help. What if my coat blows open and someone sees my firearm. This is not against the law, however people are often arrested for flashing a “gun”. The wind blew it open, not me. What about open carry? I want this only so when my firearm is accidentally exposed for a few seconds I don’t end up in jail. Some of the steps I take to hide my firearm when placing it in the holster are more suspicious than when the wind might blow it open. In this crazy world we need to be able to protect ourselves from harm without being concerned about every little thing that could happen. Trying to be safe is often no so safe.
I have a CCW and also a “G” license. I work as an Armed Security Officer and have to drop off my son at school in the mornings and pick him up in the afternoon. I go immediately to work once I drop him off. Would I be violating the law if I have my weapon in my vehicle while dropping of my son? If I have to leave my firearm at home that will make me late for my post and possibly lead to termination from employment. What advice can you offer me?
I also have a question, In a scenario like mines where, I live in a house directly across the street from a public middle school. According to florida state law I’m with in the Law to posses, own, transfer what have you on my property. However, my question comes in, What about Federal Law, being “Gun Free Zones”; if i do not posses a CWP and my home being well within the 1000 feet perimeter, would I still be in violation and subject to Arrest? Additionally, in same scenario, I also have a sidewalk that run along my property down the block. Would a sidewalk be considered public property, and being my home is in front said school, not having a CWL, and being on sidewalk in front of my home, would the be technically grounds for ability to be federally charged?
I am not clear as to whether or not it is legal for me a CCWL holder, can I carry my firearm on my person in my car while picking up my child or my wife who works at a school from school or do I have to lock my firearm away before entering the parking lot even if I don’t get out of the vehicle