Texas is a gun-friendly state as far as laws go. For this reason, it’s possible to be in a situation where you inadvertently bring a gun to a place where firearms aren’t permitted under either state or federal law. One such place is on school property, although there are some exceptions. The firearms education pros from Online LTC, the experts to turn to if you want to take a high-quality Texas CHL class, explain what you need to know about guns on school property in Texas and what applies legally.
On School Grounds
According to U.S. LawShield, it’s a felony in Texas to possess a firearm on school grounds. This includes any school-related grounds or facilities. You also can’t have a gun in any buildings where school-sponsored activities are taking place. The main exception with regard to having a gun on school grounds is having written authorization from school officials to do so.
Parking lots on school grounds are an exception in Texas. According to U.S. LawShield, Texas legally defines “premises” as specific buildings or portions of a building. However, this definition doesn’t include parking lots. Therefore, if you’re a legal gun owner in Texas, you would be able to legally keep a concealed handgun in a vehicle that’s in a school parking lot. However, the vehicle does need to be locked, and the gun has to be properly stored out of sight in the vehicle. This exception also applies to:
• Streets and sidewalks near schools
• Publicly accessible walkways around a school
• Parking garages on or near school property
It’s a somewhat gray area when it comes to buildings that aren’t used exclusively for school-related purposes. One example is churches that also house classrooms for school. In Texas, legal gun owners are allowed to carry handguns in churches and other places of worship. Legally, these are referred to as mixed-use premises. Continuing with the example of a church with a school also on the grounds, if it’s not owned and operated by an independent or state school district, you wouldn’t be able to legally carry your gun on the school part of the premises. However, you would be within your rights legally to carry in the areas where church services are held or other places not used for school-related purposes.
Daycare Facilities and After-School Programs
If a daycare center or after-school program is directly on school grounds, you wouldn’t be able to legally have a gun on the premises. Off-site daycare and after-school locations are typically required to post signs prohibiting the carrying of firearms, so expect not to be able to carry at these locations, either.
Federal Gun-Free School Zones
At the federal level, there’s a gun-free school zone law that prohibits the possession of firearms on or within 1,000 feet of any type of school unless exceptions apply. The main exemption applies to Texas residents with a valid License to Carry a Handgun. Residents with an LTC can conceal carry within the gun-free school zone but must still abide by Texas laws. This means LTC holders can conceal carry a handgun on the school property—for example, while dropping a student off. They just cannot carry inside the school buildings.
Remember it’s your responsibility to know where you can and cannot carry. OnlineTexasLTC.com doesn’t provide legal advice, and none of the information provided here should be considered legal advice.
If you’re carrying a firearm in Texas, it’s essential to make sure you learn how to do it safely and follow all the applicable laws. Online Texas LTC is committed to providing the best firearms training available. Whether you want to take an LTC class to get your carry permit or you simply want to learn how to shoot and handle a gun safely, Online Texas LTC has exactly what you need. Give us a call today at 512-675-2206.