Guns and School Zones: What You Need to Know | Ohio

The following is a video transcript.

It’s that time of year again. Parents are rejoicing and kids are crying as school is getting ready to begin for the new year. With that in mind, I wanted to discuss school zones and firearms.

2017 Legislative Changes

Thankfully, we Ohioans got some relief from the restrictions related to school zone firearm carry in 2017. That was a big help for parents of students who were in a tough position when it came to dropping off and picking up their kids, or maybe bringing something to them at school they had forgotten and needed. If the parent was carrying a firearm, the parent could not bring the firearm onto the school grounds whatsoever, and it was a real problem. Well, as a result of the legislative changes in 2017 we now can, but not without some restrictions.

CARRY RIGHTS IN SCHOOL SAFETY ZONES

ORC 2923.122, entitled Illegal Conveyance or Possession of Deadly Weapons into School Zones, dictates our carry rights in school safety zones. It states,

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“(A) No person shall knowingly convey or attempt to convey a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance into a school safety zone.”

That is a simple statement of the law for all gun owners who do not have licenses to carry in the state of Ohio. No open carry, and certainly no concealed carry in school safety zones. Section (D)(3) of the statute makes an exception, and states,

“This section does not apply to a person who conveys or attempts to convey a handgun into or possesses a handgun in a school safety zone if at the time of that conveyance, attempted conveyance, or possession of the handgun, all of the following apply:”

And remember, I said all.

  1. The person does not enter into a school building or onto a school premises, and is not at a school activity;
  2. The person is carrying a valid concealed handgun license, or the person is an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, and has their ID and training documents;
  3. The person is in the school safety zone in accordance with federal law; and
  4. The person is not knowingly in a place described in division (B)(1) or (B)(3) through (8) of section 2923.126 of the Revised Code.

All four of those things need to be true before you can carry your firearm onto the school grounds, even with your concealed handgun license.

WHAT CONSTITUTES SCHOOL SAFETY ZONES?

What constitutes school safety zones and/or school premises? A school safety zone consists of any school, school building, school premises, school activity, or school bus; and the premises themselves is all the land and buildings that are situated on it. Those are all the prohibited places that are listed in the “duties of licensed persons” section of the Ohio Revised Code in the “all must apply” section of 2923.122, (the person is not knowingly in a place described in division (B)(1) or (B)(3) through (8) of section 2923.126 of the Revised Code).

OTHER PROHIBITED PLACES

You may have kids who attend classes or take part in programs in a number of places that fall into these categories, like churches for example, or private tutoring or afterschool programs, which perhaps utilize church or government buildings. These can cause confusion for everyone, so be mindful. If your child is in a school at a church, that is not a school zone per se for purposes of ORC 2923.122. If there is no real separation from the place of worship, which under (B)(7) is a prohibited place, then you could be in violation of the law if you carry into the building. Same with daycare, education centers, or other school-related programs that may utilize government space. Those are prohibited areas as well, and are not schools zones for purposes of concealed carry.

PRIVATE PROPERTY

Finally, don’t forget that private businesses and property owners can post “no gun” signs and prohibit firearms on their property if they so choose. So, if your child is attending private tutoring at a business or a home, or perhaps they take classes at an education center, you may be prohibited from carrying into those locations by sign. These are the nuances of the law that I want to bring to your attention, so that you, as U.S. LawShield members, can be as informed as possible heading into what I’m sure will be a great school year.

As always, if you have any questions about this issue, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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