Can I Bring My Gun To School?
Can I bring my gun to school? Is a question we get asked a lot. It’s a scary world out there. There’s no question about it. Tragically, religious houses of worship and schools are prime opportunities for people to express their hate and intolerance of others. Whether it’s Emanuel AME, Jewish community centers, mosques, or threats of copycat violence, people are beginning to fear for their right to learn and worship peacefully and for the safety of their families while doing so.
It’s no wonder we’re getting a lot of calls about whether or not ministries should allow their volunteers and congregants to bring weapons on their school campus.
So, what should you say the next time a member of the security team or congregation asks “Can I bring my gun to school?” Short answer: Tell them no, you can’t bring your gun on a ministry-based school campus. The general rule in California is that no person may lawfully carry a firearm or ammunition on school grounds.
There are, of course, certain exceptions to this general rule. Prior to the adoption of SB 707, one of the exceptions to the general rule was that individuals who held a valid California license to Carry Concealed Weapons (CCW) were permitted to carry firearms and/or ammunition on school grounds. Note that the CCW was required to have been issued by the State of California, because out-of-state CCWs are not valid in this state for any purpose.
The effect of SB 707 was to remove the exception for CCW holders, therefore subjecting those individuals to the general prohibition against carrying a firearm or ammunition on school grounds, unless that individual meets one of the other exceptions to the general rule (peace officers, retired peace officers and some retired reserve peace officers).
Among the exceptions that remain in full force and effect despite the adoption of SB 707 is the rule that anyone may carry a firearm and/or ammunition on school grounds if that person has written permission to do so from the superintendent of the school district, the superintendent’s designee, or equivalent school authority. (See Penal Code, §§ 629.9(a), 30310(a).)
Therefore, if the goal of the churches is to allow certain individuals to carry firearms and/or ammunition on campus, then all the churches need to do is have the head authority for the school (could be the church board if they are ultimately responsible for the school ministry) issue written permission to the selected individuals.
This permission may be as broad or as narrow as the church and/or the school desires. For instance, if the church only wants to authorize a specified security guard to carry a firearm and/or ammunition on school grounds, then the head authority may issue written permission only to that individual security guard.
If the church wants to authorize any person under the sun to carry a firearm and/or ammunition on school grounds, then the head authority may issue a written policy, authorizing the carrying of firearms and/or ammunition by all persons.
Finally, if the goal is simply to re-establish the status quo prior to the adoption of SB 707, then the head authority should issue a written policy, authorizing the carrying of firearms and/or ammunition by persons who hold a valid California CCW.
So, just to make it clear … no guns on campus without written permission from the head authority of the school or district.