Gun Free School Zones
Gun Free School Zones
Both Federal and State law require handguns to be in a locked case within 1000 feet of kindergarten through 12th grade school property. California ignores long guns; Federal law requires long guns to be locked up in that 1000 foot zone.
Both Federal and State law exempt private residences that lie within the 1000 foot zones.
A PC 12050/26150 CCW allows permit holders to legally carry their listed handguns on both K-12 and college/university properties and campuses. That does not insulate a licensed student or employee of a school from administrative or job disciplinary action if the school prohibits carry for those groups.
Gun Free School Zones
Both Federal Law and California Law affect possession and transport of firearms in defined school zones. The requirements are slightly different for each.
However, in general, unless one qualifies for one of the exemptions,
- it is illegal to bring a firearm onto a school campus or property, and
- it is illegal to bring ammunition onto school property and
- it is illegal to have an uncased, unlocked firearm in a public place within 1000 feet of a k-12 school.
Exceptions include California Concealed Weapons licenses, and transport through school zones unloaded in locked cases. Note that CCW licenses recognized under reciprocity laws do not provide exemption, per the BATF.
Federal law implements the Gun Free School Zone in 18 USC 922 (q) and definitions of key terms in 18 USC 921.
(25) The term “school zone” means— (A) in, or on the grounds of, a public, parochial or private school; or (B) within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private school. (26) The term “school” means a school which provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under State law.
Here is what Congress thinks it is doing.
(q) (1) The Congress finds and declares that— (A) crime, particularly crime involving drugs and guns, is a pervasive, nationwide problem; (B) crime at the local level is exacerbated by the interstate movement of drugs, guns, and criminal gangs; (C) firearms and ammunition move easily in interstate commerce and have been found in increasing numbers in and around schools, as documented in numerous hearings in both the Committee on the Judiciary  the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate; (D) in fact, even before the sale of a firearm, the gun, its component parts, ammunition, and the raw materials from which they are made have considerably moved in interstate commerce; (E) while criminals freely move from State to State, ordinary citizens and foreign visitors may fear to travel to or through certain parts of the country due to concern about violent crime and gun violence, and parents may decline to send their children to school for the same reason; (F) the occurrence of violent crime in school zones has resulted in a decline in the quality of education in our country; (G) this decline in the quality of education has an adverse impact on interstate commerce and the foreign commerce of the United States; (H) States, localities, and school systems find it almost impossible to handle gun-related crime by themselves — even States, localities, and school systems that have made strong efforts to prevent, detect, and punish gun-related crime find their efforts unavailing due in part to the failure or inability of other States or localities to take strong measures; and (I) the Congress has the power, under the interstate commerce clause and other provisions of the Constitution, to enact measures to ensure the integrity and safety of the Nation’s schools by enactment of this subsection.
Congressional Record selection here.
(2) (A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone. (B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm— (i) on private property not part of school grounds; (ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license; (iii) that is— (I) not loaded; and (II) in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle; (iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone; (v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual; (vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or (vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities.
In California, California CCW would exempt a handgun from this law. Contrary to California law regarding transport of long guns, this Federal law requires long guns to be "in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle".
Outside one's state of residence, a non-resident CCW from a third state would not exempt the holder from the Federal law - that law requires the license be issued by the state where the school zone is located. Nor does a license from your state of residence, honored for CCW by some other state, exempt you from the Federal law. See this BATF letter from 2002.
Prior law had forbidden possession on school grounds; the 1995 bill repealed those sections and replaced them with these.
Interesting sidelight, from the Senate Bill analysis:
ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION: The California Rifle and Pistol Association is opposed to AB 645 as presently drafted because of the 1000 foot radius provision contained in proposed 626.9(e)(1) and the fact that all proposed penalties are straight felonies. There is no judicial discretion provided that would allow the courts to impose misdemeanor penalties on well-meaning lawful individuals who unwittingly pass within 1000 feet of a school that is several blocks away. The "reasonably should know" standard in subdivision (b) is too broad and subjective. In order for there to be a conviction under this provision, would school have to post signs within 1000 feet of their campus? What does "reasonably should know" mean for purposes of AB 645? In effect, AB 645 is an unjustified penalty increase for individuals who were denied a concealed weapon permit under the arbitrary and archaic provisions of the current permit issuing laws, but who have a need to carry a concealed weapon anyway for self-protection. The California Rifle and Pistol Association opposes any increase in CCW violation penalties without offsetting reforms in the manner in which permits are issued. A lawful individual who needs a permit should at least be given a fair opportunity to receive one|!
626.9. (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995. (b) Any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e), unless it is with the written permission of the school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority, shall be punished as specified in subdivision (f).
(c) Subdivision (b) does not apply to the possession of a firearm under any of the following circumstances: (1) Within a place of residence or place of business or on private property, if the place of residence, place of business, or private property is not part of the school grounds and the possession of the firearm is otherwise lawful. (2) When the firearm is an unloaded pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person and is in a locked container or within the locked trunk of a motor vehicle. This section does not prohibit or limit the otherwise lawful transportation of any other firearm, other than a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person, in accordance with state law. ... (4) When the person is exempt from the prohibition against carrying a concealed firearm pursuant to subdivision (b), (d), (e), or (h) of Section 12027. ... (l)This section does not apply to a duly appointed peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the federal government who is carrying out official duties while in California, any person summoned by any of these officers to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while he or she is actually engaged in assisting the officer, a member of the military forces of this state or of the United States who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, a person holding a valid license to carry the firearm pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 12050) of Chapter 1 of Title 2 of Part 4, or an armored vehicle guard, engaged in the performance of his or her duties, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 7521 of the Business and Professions Code.
(e) As used in this section, the following definitions shall apply: (1) "School zone" means an area in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of the public or private school. (2) "Firearm" has the same meaning as that term is given in Section 12001. (3) "Locked container" has the same meaning as that term is given in subdivision (c) of Section 12026.1. (4) "Concealed firearm"* has the same meaning as that term is given in Sections 12025 and 12026.1. * For clarification see: Defining Concealed
(f) (1) Any person who violates subdivision (b) by possessing a firearm in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years. (2) Any person who violates subdivision (b) by possessing a firearm within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, shall be punished as follows: (A) By imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, if any of the following circumstances apply: (i) If the person previously has been convicted of any felony, or of any crime made punishable by Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 12000) of Title 2 of Part 4. (ii) If the person is within a class of persons prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm pursuant to Section 12021 or 12021.1 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. (iii) If the firearm is any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person and the offense is punished as a felony pursuant to Section 12025. (B) By imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, in all cases other than those specified in subparagraph (A).
Firearms also forbidden on campuses, properties of Colleges/Universities
There are no 'zones' for colleges or universities, but there are restrictions on the properties themselves.
(h) Notwithstanding Section 12026, any person who brings or possesses a loaded firearm upon the grounds of a campus of, or buildings owned or operated for student housing, teaching, research, or administration by, a public or private university or college, that are contiguous or are clearly marked university property, unless it is with the written permission of the university or college president, his or her designee, or equivalent university or college authority, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years. Notwithstanding subdivision (k), a university or college shall post a prominent notice at primary entrances on noncontiguous property stating that firearms are prohibited on that property pursuant to this subdivision. (i) Notwithstanding Section 12026, any person who brings or possesses a firearm upon the grounds of a campus of, or buildings owned or operated for student housing, teaching, research, or administration by, a public or private university or college, that are contiguous or are clearly marked university property, unless it is with the written permission of the university or college president, his or her designee, or equivalent university or college authority, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for one, two, or three years. Notwithstanding subdivision (k), a university or college shall post a prominent notice at primary entrances on noncontiguous property stating that firearms are prohibited on that property pursuant to this subdivision. ... (k) This section does not require that notice be posted regarding the proscribed conduct.
Ammunition is also prohibited on school campuses: Penal Code 30310 (was 12316)
(c) Unless it is with the written permission of the school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority, no person shall carry ammunition or reloaded ammunition onto school grounds, except sworn law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their duties or persons exempted Section 25450.
There are the usual exemptions for law enforcement, military, armored vehicle guards and licensed CCW.
As written, the reference to "school district superintendent" suggests this applies to K-12 and possibly Community Colleges, since those have "districts".
People v. Tapia, 29 Cal. Rptr. 3d 158 - Cal: Court of Appeals, 2nd Appellate Dist., 3rd Div. 2005 Defendant and appellant Jesus M. Tapia pointed a firearm at another motorist during a traffic dispute. When officers came to Tapia's residence the next day to investigate, they observed Tapia, who was standing on the sidewalk in front of his residence, remove a loaded handgun from his pocket and place it inside a vehicle parked in the driveway. The sidewalk where Tapia had been standing was within 1,000 feet of a high school. Tapia was convicted of possession of a firearm in a school zone, in violation of Penal Code section 626.9, and assault with a firearm. At trial, he sought to present, as a defense to the section 626.9 charge, evidence that the sidewalk where he had been standing was on private property, subject to an easement of way granted to a public entity. In the published portion of this opinion, we conclude a sidewalk on an easement of way granted to a public entity does not qualify as private property within the meaning of section 626.9, subdivision (c)(1). In the unpublished portion of this opinion, we reject Tapia's contention that the trial court improperly denied Pitchess discovery 161*161 and limited cross-examination of a witness. We affirm.
People v. Anson, 129 Cal. Rptr. 2d 124 - Cal: Court of Appeals, 4th Appellate Dist., 3rd Div. 2003 Roger Thomas Anson appeals from a judgment of conviction for a misdemeanor violation of the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995 codified at Penal Code section 626.9 (all further statutory references are to the Penal Code). This court has jurisdiction because defendant was solely charged with a felony violation of section 626.9. After defendant was arrested for indecent exposure, a police officer conducted a search of his camper. The officer found handcuffs and a loaded .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Defendant was convicted for misdemeanor possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of an elementary school in violation of section 626.9. Defendant contends (1) the trial court erred by failing to suppress evidence from the search of the camper because the search was based on an unlawful arrest, and (2) defendant's camper qualified as a residence excepted from the requirements of section 626.9. We affirm. In the unpublished portion of this Opinion, we hold that the trial court did not err by refusing to suppress evidence obtained by a search conducted incident to defendant's arrest. In the published portion of this Opinion, we hold that defendant's camper does not qualify for the residence exception in section 626.9.
People v. Mejia, 85 Cal. Rptr. 2d 690 - Cal: Court of Appeals, 4th Appellate Dist., 3rd Div. 1999 Police officers observed defendant's stopped vehicle facing the wrong direction on Western between Wisteria and Highland. The center of Western demarcates a 1000-foot perimeter surrounding the Monte Vista School. The officers initiated a traffic stop. Defendant, the driver and sole occupant of the car, did not yield, but jumped out of his moving vehicle and fled. He was apprehended a short distance away from the car. During the pursuit, an officer saw a shiny metal object in his hand. He retraced defendant's steps and located a .380 caliber handgun. At trial, defense and prosecution experts testified extensively about various measurements of the area surrounding Monte Vista School. Despite the differences in their testimony, defendant concedes at least part of his car was within 1,000 feet of a school at the time the officers first saw him.
People v. Singer, 56 Cal. App. Supp. 3d 1 - Cal: Court of Appeals 1976 Defendant appeals his conviction of violating Penal Code section 626.9. That section provides, in applicable part, that "Any person, [here follow exceptions not relevant to the present case] who brings or possesses a firearm upon the grounds of any public school, including the University of California and the state university and colleges, or within any public school including the University of California and the state colleges, unless it is with the permission of the school authorities, shall be punished [as specified in the statute]." Specifically, defendant was charged with having in his possession and bringing upon the grounds of the University of California at Los Angeles a firearm without permission of the school authorities. The matter was charged as a felony. A preliminary hearing was held and defendant's motion to dismiss the action because of constitutional objections to the statute was denied. The court then fixed the matter as a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code section 17, subdivision (b), subsection (5), and defendant thereupon pleaded guilty.