Can I Have a Gun on School Property in Texas?
The continued prevalence of school shootings in the United States, including recent shootings in Uvalde and Nashville, has made the presence of guns in schools a subject of heated debate. But regardless of whether or not you believe schools should allow guns on campus, it’s crucial to know what the law says.
So, can you bring a gun onto school property in Texas? The short answer is, “It depends.” There are different rules for colleges and K-12 schools, teachers and other staff members vs. students and visitors, and those with concealed carry permits vs. those without. Because there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to bringing schools, knowing the different rules is essential to avoiding legal trouble.
The McKinney gun defense lawyers at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian thoroughly understand Texas’s gun laws and are fully prepared to defend your rights if the police accuse you of a crime. Below you’ll find more information on Texas’s gun laws regarding schools and how our criminal defense attorneys can help if you run into any legal trouble.
Bringing Guns Onto Texas College Campuses
According to information from the City of Austin, people with a license to carry a concealed handgun can generally bring a weapon onto a college or university campus. While that’s the general rule, there are some crucial stipulations to know about, such as:
- While public colleges and universities generally cannot prohibit those with concealed carry licenses from bringing guns on campus, they are allowed to establish rules prohibiting guns in certain areas. These rules are valid as long as they don’t generally prohibit people from bringing guns on campus.
- People with concealed carry licenses can usually bring a gun to the premises of a collegiate sports event unless the college or university provides written notice of the rules prohibiting concealed weapons.
- Private colleges and universities have a bit more discretion when it comes to prohibiting handguns. According to the Giffords Law Center, private institutions can enforce more severe restrictions or outright ban guns entirely from their campus and affiliated buildings as long as the institution first consults with students, staff, and faculty.
- Anyone who does not have a concealed carry permit generally cannot bring a gun onto a college or university campus.
Bringing Guns Onto K-12 School Property
As you’d expect, there are more restrictive rules for bringing guns onto schools with young children in attendance. In general, you cannot bring a gun onto an elementary school, middle school, or high school campus. However, gun owners can still bring guns onto a K-12 campus in some circumstances, as long as they follow these restrictions:
- Per the Giffords Law Center, people with concealed carry permits can store a gun in their car as long as they own or lease the car and the car is locked.
- Guns are generally not allowed on school property, on school buses, or on the premises where any school-related activity is taking place.
- According to news reports, the Texas Association of School Boards says individual school districts can set their own policies on whether teachers and staff can bring guns on campus. If a school district allows teachers or other staff to carry guns on campus, they must have a concealed carry permit to do so. The law does not specify any additional training requirements for teachers or staff.
Potential Penalties for Bringing a Gun Onto School Property
According to Texas law, bringing a gun onto school property is either a third-degree felony or a Class A misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case. If someone “exhibits or uses” a gun on school property, the law says that offense is a third-degree felony. The same is true if someone threatens to use a gun and has immediate access to it. If someone threatens to use a gun on school property, but they do not have immediate access to it, they could face a Class A misdemeanor charge. In either case, the potential penalties include jail time, fines, and other legal consequences. A conviction for a third-degree felony carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
How Our Texas Gun Defense Attorneys Can Help With Your Case
Our criminal defense team knows all the ins and outs of Texas’s gun laws, and we are ready to protect your rights if the police accuse you of breaking these laws. We can investigate the case against you and look for holes in the prosecution’s case, move to have evidence obtained through an illegal search suppressed, handle plea bargain negotiations if that’s a viable option, and represent you during any court proceedings. Call us today at (972) 369-0577 or visit our contact page for a free consultation.