Over the next several weeks, schools with grades K through 12 will be reopening across the State of Kansas, though the upcoming school year will look quite different than those in the past. At the time of the writing of this article, the Kansas State Board of Education has not ratified Governor Kelly’s Executive Order with a reopening plan. Each school district is responsible for making its own decision about when and how to reopen its schools. It is possible that some districts may use virtual learning, others in-person learning, and some may use both methods.
As many of you know, federal law has created Gun-Free School Zones. With limited exceptions, it is illegal to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of school property anywhere in this country. What comes as a surprise to many is that a lot of states, including Kansas, have enacted additional laws regarding firearms on school property.
Open vs. Closed Schools
The laws that apply to guns in school zones in Kansas apply whether the facility is “open” or “closed.” However, school is often held in facilities that are also used for other purposes, such as religious services or after-school programs. In instances where the property is not owned by the school, the laws applying to school property are only enforceable when the property is actively used by the school.
Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6301 provides (in relevant part) that the crime of criminal use of a weapon is committed if a person knowingly:
- Possesses any firearm in or on any school property or grounds upon which is located a building or structure used by a unified school district or an accredited nonpublic school for student instruction or attendance or extracurricular activities of pupils enrolled in kindergarten or any of the grades one through 12 or at any regularly scheduled school-sponsored activity or event whether the person knows or has reason to know that such person was in or on any such property or grounds; or
- Refuses to surrender or immediately remove from school property or grounds or at any regularly scheduled school-sponsored activity or event any firearm in the possession of any person, when so requested or directed by any duly authorized school employee or any law enforcement officer.
Several exceptions exist to the general prohibitions found in Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6301 that include, but are not limited to: possession of a firearm that is secured in an automobile by a parent while delivering or collecting a student, and possession of a firearm that is concealed by an individual who may legally possess the firearm.
Kansas has not implemented any changes to normal regulations concerning the carrying of concealed firearms during the pandemic. Further, there are no legal restrictions associated with wearing a mask in conformity with governmental directives and carrying a concealed firearm.
For any further questions regarding school zones or any other in the State of Kansas, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.