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Carrying a Concealed Handgun at a School or College Campus is a Crime

A law effective January 1, 2016 makes it a crime to carry a concealed firearm on a school or college campus. Even if you have a valid California permit to carry a concealed firearm, you could still be arrested and charged with a crime if you bring your weapon to a school or campus.


Prior to 2016, it was already illegal to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school or on a college campus without permission from administrators. Specifically, the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995 (California Penal Code Section 626.9), prohibited a person from possessing a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, unless with the written permission of certain school district officials.

A “school zone” is an area on the grounds of a school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, or within a distance of 1,000 feet of that school.

Similarly, that law prohibited a person from bringing or possessing a firearm upon the grounds of a campus of a public or private university or college, 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, as specified, unless with the written permission of specified university or college officials.

However, the Gun-Free School Zone Act exempted those individuals who had concealed carry permits.

When Gov. Jerry Brown signed S.B. 707 into law in 2015, that exemption was modified to prohibit legal concealed weapons from school property and college campuses. Under the new law, however, a permitted concealed weapon can still be carried within 1,000 feet of school property.

Carrying a valid concealed firearm in Los Angeles in violation of this law can upon conviction result in the following penalties:

  • Any person who violates Section 626.9 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 for two, three, or five years.

Penalties can be harsher for subsequent offenses, if the accused has previously been convicted of a felony, or was in possession of a weapon illegally.

Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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