When Church and State Collide: Can You Carry In An Ohio Dual Purpose Facility?

The following is a video transcript.

Hello U.S. LawShield members, it’s Wilkes Ellsworth, Independent Program Attorney for Ohio, here to quickly talk about dual purpose facilities—specifically, those where you might see some crossover with churches and schools.

This can be confusing, as you might think that the rules change depending on, for example, if it’s Sunday school or if there is a school attached to the church. And the rules can change both depending on the day and the time. What I want you to remember about these—churches with schools attached, those that hold Sunday school on the premises, private kindergarten, or any other combination of educational facility and house of worship—is to follow the rules we already know about these entities on an individual basis. You do that, and you will be compliant with the law. Some states have specific rules when it comes to dual purpose facilities. Ohio does not. As I just said, we default to the basic rules for each, individually.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP

As far as churches go, do not carry into the church, synagogue, or the like, without prior authorization from someone in authority to give it, with no exception. In no way does this authorization give you the right to carry into the school portion of the building while school is in session. Regardless of the fact that it is on church grounds and you have been authorized by the church officials to carry on the premises, authorization would only allow legal carry if used for church purposes at some other time. Sunday school is a church activity for our purposes, and not a prototypical school activity. It would fall under the rules for church carry. Again, with authorization.

SCHOOLS

When it comes to schools, we all should know the rules for those already. You should never carry into a school building, regardless of where it is. So, it makes sense that you cannot carry into a school portion of a dual purpose facility while school is in session. I am speaking to regular or private K through 12 as school activities. You may carry into a school safety zone, but only if you have a valid Ohio Concealed Carry License. But, make sure you lock it in your vehicle, if leaving the vehicle. Again, never carry it into the school portion of the facility.

What is a school safety zone? Well, it consists of a school building, school premises, school activity, and school bus. Remember these easy rules. Stay in your vehicle with the firearm if picking up your child, for instance. If you must enter the building, then lock it in your car, and you will be complying with the law.

For more information about carrying in or around dual purpose facilities, which may double as a house of worship and an educational center, please feel free to call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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