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concealed carry near school

Concealed Carry Near Schools Is Heavily Regulated But Possible

At the moment, concealed carry near schools is not as permissible under current laws as carrying...well, almost anywhere else. The reason is that federally-mandated gun free zones were literally created FOR schools, or to be specific, primary and secondary schools.

Concealed carry around tertiary schools - aka concealed carry on campus is not affected, though it's also a whole other kettle of fish. For the most part, schools are off-limits, though there are certain exceptions at the state level.

Gun Free Zones Literally Created For Schools

gun free school zone

The reason why "gun free zones" is in the national vocabulary is due to the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, a bill primarily sponsored by then-Senator Joe Biden and signed into law by then-President George Bush. (The first one.)

Basically, the law makes it so that a person cannot possess or transport a loaded firearm in a school zone, which extends to 1,000 feet in every direction from the school itself.

Thus, the gun free zone was created around both public and private primary and secondary schools. A lot of the same objections that were raised at the time are still being made about gun free zones today.

Gun Free Zone Exceptions

student ccw

While federal law makes it pretty clear that carrying a gun is mostly verboten in a gun free zone, there are exceptions to the law, both on the federal level and at the state level. Unfortunately, any state exceptions vary by state, so make sure that you do your appropriate homework to find out what your state's laws are.

As to the federal law, federal law grants exemptions for the following:

  • If carrying on private property in a school zone but not part of the school,
  • If the firearm is unloaded and in a locked container
  • If the firearm is unloaded while the school zone is being traversed en route to public or private hunting lands, so long as school officials give permission


If the person in possession of the firearm has a concealed carry permit that involves law enforcement verifying the applicant is qualified to hold the license.

However, that doesn't mean that you can go ahead and conceal on school property. Often enough, state laws specify any further restrictions on school grounds.

Concealed Carry Laws Vary By State

ccw at school

The specific restrictions one has to deal with have to do with the concealed carry laws of the state one is a resident of or otherwise in - if traveling and one happens to find one's self in a suburban neighborhood, for example.

For instance, Rhode Island concealed carry laws forbid carrying on school grounds for any reason, unless the firearm is to be used in school activities (such as ROTC or instruction) or is being carried by law enforcement.

Oklahoma, by contrast, allows school district employees (teachers, school bus drivers) to concealed carry, and for concealed weapons that are hidden from view and remain in the possessor's vehicle.

Vermont, otherwise considered one of the most libertarian states in the union concerning firearms, doesn't allow firearms on school property at all.

And so on and so forth.

Since state laws can vary widely, you have to research the laws of your state of residence to see what the exemption will be in your case.

Sam Hoober

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.