The following is a video transcript.
School is back in session, and you’re getting ready to drop your kids off for their first day. You drop off the older kids, park your car, and head inside the school building to walk your youngest to his new classroom. Having carried your handgun all summer, you forget that it’s still in your belt holster when you enter the school building. Have you committed a crime by carrying inside the school?
HAVE YOU COMMITTED A CRIME?
The short answer to this question is yes. It’s a crime to possess a firearm on or in the premises of a school, as well as on any grounds and buildings where a school-sponsored activity is taking place, unless it’s done and pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution.
In our scenario, the second you walk into the school building with your firearm, you’re committing a serious felony offense.
PREMISES AND PARKING LOTS
But is the law different when it comes to parking lots? Yes. Texas defines premises as a building or a portion of a building, but it doesn’t include a street, sidewalk, walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking areas. Generally speaking, LTC holders may keep their concealed handguns in a locked vehicle in school parking areas. Which leads us to another question we’re often asked: What about schools located within or on the grounds of a church or other place of religious worship?
Texas law allows LTC holders to carry their handguns into churches, synagogues, and other places of religious worship, unless effective 30.06 or 30.07 notice is provided. However, when the church also houses a school, the law becomes a bit murky.
In Texas these places are referred to as mixed-use premises, and whether you’re allowed to carry will depend on the legal classification of the particular mixed-use premises. If the church with a school is not owned by a state or independent school district, follow these general guidelines:
- If the mixed-use premises is being used as a school, you cannot carry.
- If the mixed-use premises is being used as a church, you may carry so long as the premises is NOT considered a school building and there is no notice prohibiting the carry of firearms.
The legal classification of mixed-use premises can be tricky. To be safe, obtain written authorization from the institution regarding when and where you can carry before you do, if at all.
DAYCARE FACILITIES AND AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS
What about daycare facilities or after school programs? A daycare in Texas is not considered an outright prohibited place, but they are generally required to post notice prohibiting the carry of firearms. This means that if you carry into a daycare facility it may be considered a trespass. The same rule applies to after-school programs. However, if the daycare or after-school program is located within a school or is regarded as a school-sponsored activity, carrying the firearm would be absolutely prohibited.
FEDERAL LAW AND GUN-FREE SCHOOL ZONES
And this brings us to federal law. Isn’t there a prohibition about carrying in a Gun-Free School Zone? The Federal Gun-Free School Zones law prohibits individuals from knowingly possessing a firearm that has moved through interstate commerce (which is virtually all firearms) in or on the grounds or within 1,000 feet of a public, parochial, or private school, unless an exception applies. The most common exceptions to the Federal Gun-Free School Zones laws in Texas are:
- Living within 1,000 feet of a school, so long as the person is not prohibited from possessing a firearm on their private property;
- Being a Texas LTC holder. Note this does not apply to Texas residents who hold a non-resident license or handgun permit from another state; or
- Carrying a firearm that is securely locked. This is a firearm that is unloaded and carried in a locked case or other type of locked container, such as a glove box or trunk.
We hope you found this information helpful and wish you a safe start to the school year. For any questions concerning carrying in the areas we’ve discussed, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
First, I don’t know if this is true. I was TOLD a young person did not show up for an appointment because:
His truck STALLED on public street in a school zone. He had a rifle in the truck. He was arrested and taken in “for having the weapon on school grounds”. Now, this is hearsay, … but it is what I was told by his young friend when I inquired as to why he did not make it to the appointment. This happened in Waco, TX
I am to in Waco Tx. My fiancé is sitting in county right now w an unlawful possession of firearm by felon in gun free zone! One he didn’t know MY pistols were in the car 2 we were on the hwy on our way home Nd the law happened to pull us over in that spot and we weren’t even going to the school just simply driving by for that matter 🤦♀️
But you had a felon in your car knowing you owned guns you should be in jail also
Wow. The laws can be so…so…confusing and sometimes contradictory. You either have to be an attorney or have a good attorney to help you avoid making an honest mistake. Murky? I’d say they are more like “sticky”. Get a book on Texas Gun Law and study it carefully. An honest mistake can cost you years in prison if you are not careful.
What about federal parking lots at the post office? Can you just leave your gun in the glovebox?
No. Federal law generally prohibits firearms on all federal property, including parking lots.
So on another but similar subject I travel for work and my company books accomadations I arrive and get presented with a 30.06/30.07 sign apon arrival and sometimes in a area of a school what should I do ? I do not like the option of leaving a weapon in my truck being that it has been broken into several times?
I agree with your concern about having a firearm in the truck. My truck has been broken into as well. I would not want another person to ever keep and use a firearm that I am responsible for. Several companies make products that would allow you to safely and securely store your firearm in your truck. They are reliable and very secure. Plus some vehicles can be outfitted with permanent locking compartments in them. Usually configures in your console area.
Okay… got into it with the Manager of my sons Daycare/preschool. She told me they were an Educational Institution and because of that they are a gun free zone. I told her thats not true and she doesnt have any 30.06 or 30.07 signs and that I have no problem with removing my pistol but that she was incorrect about her gun free zone status.
Can anyone clarify this and provide references for me to research into this?
This is good information, makes me wonder if a school is setback on one side of the road and I have to drive through it to get home is that an infraction?
Let’s not fall into the old “I didn’t know or understand” excuse. WE have the obligation to KNOW what we can and can’t do. It’s part of the package and, we should study carefully the laws in reciprocating states too. If you don’t know..don’t go! They have generally same thoughts but will get you if you don’t study. Not their fault is it?
I carry everywhere I can legally do so including airplane trips with proper TSA met. I’ve never had a problem with doing this. I do have to seriously consider whether I NEED to go to a State that is in the dark ages.
So,as gently as I can say it, there are NO excuses. It’s on us to adhere to and keep the “privilege” of what the 2nd Amendment gives the right to us.
God bless Texas and
God bless America!
It’s an awesomely serious responsibility
My friend was stopped for a broken tail light at 1:00am on a public street that was in a school zone. He’s a convicted felon, but has not been on paper for almost 10 years. Dogs were brought to his car to sniff, because he was a convicted felon and refused a search. He’s stayed out of trouble and no convictions for any type of violent crimes. He did tell the officer there was a pistol in his car for protection, because he’d been shot 2 years ago when someone tried to rob him. The Fed’s picked up his case, because he was a felon. Can his charges be enhanced because he was stopped in a school zone on a public street at 1:00am.? (This type of thing can happen to anyone riding down the street with a gun in the car.)
That’s why you don’t tell cops anything
My church has a daycare located in the “youth building,” which is also where the church offices are located. There are no 30:06 signs posted, but I am concerned about the legality of carrying my pistol to visit with my pastor in his office in the same building. And yes, I do have a valid Texas LTC.
So, legal or not?
My son has a pistol potentially unlicensed.. that he claims he can carry on his person while dropping his little sister off at school in the mornings. (Mind you, once I heard this he is no longer taking her to school, but I would like to know the actual law , as I know there will be a huge argument about it all .)
Concerned mother , I am!
My son does have a CCL ( or at least I am told so )
However, that alone does not give him the relief to carry on school property/premises
Without permission; especially during school hours ; and or during the school year.
Am I wrong?
What law can I direct him to read or can I print out for him to see to prove this is serious stuff!!!??? Please .. please help
Having that TEXAS License To Carry (LTC) is all the difference in the world. With a license, he’s generally ok in the parking lots and sidewalks, but NOT inside any structures. Without a license, he’s not covered under any of the exceptions to the federal law, as stated in the article above.
In the State of Texas firearms are not registered or licensed. The only way to carry a pistol in public is to have an LTC (License to Carry). Without that license you can not carry a pistol either concealed or open. When it comes to Gun Free Zones. The only place you can not carry a gun with a license is into the physical building itself. You can have it on you in a holster or in your car and there is nothing illegal about it.
You also can not carry a pistol if he went to a school sponsered function anywhere even places you could normally carry. School bake sale at a park… nope. School field trip… nope. School athletic event, football, cheerleading, soccer, etc.. nope.
Im concerned about having a gun or guns in my car and driving by a school. If I get pulled over by a cop would I be in violation of the law for having a gun or guns near a school. How does the new constitutional carry law effect this scenario.