Gun Free School Zones in Florida

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Gun Free School Zones in Florida

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 firearms on school grounds.  Firearms are not allowed at any school or college athletic event not related to firearmsFlorida 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 exception explained below, found in Florida Statutes § 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 nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes, if it does not fire a dart or projectile. F.S. 790.06(12).  Further, recent court decisions have approved having a firearm securely encased in one’s vehicle on a college or university property.    

As mentioned above, 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 firearm can be carried, or carried in a case to a career center having a firearms training range.  

What about school parking lots or when you pick up or drop off your kids 

Concealed firearms can be carried without a license, in a vehicle, under Florida law as long as a person is 18 or older, and the firearm is securely encased or otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use. F.S. § 790.25(5). This extends to the carry 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. F.S. § 790.115(2)(a)(3). This means that, while firearms in vehicles on school parking lots are legal under state law, 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 up to 5 years in prison if you carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of a gun free school zone.  So, if you are not a concealed weapons and firearms licensee, avoid driving in or near school zones.

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