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Thread: Exactly what legal weight do "gun free zones" have?

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    I've looked through the RCW code to determine exactly what the so-called "gun free zones" around schools actually do. I'm unable to find any mention of what these zones restrict, what the penalties are, etc. The only real mention I can find is:

    9.41.280
    Possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities — Penalty — Exceptions.(1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

    <snip>

    (6) "GUN-FREE ZONE" signs shall be posted around school facilities giving warning of the prohibition of the possession of firearms on school grounds.

    The above section (6) is the only mention of "Gun-free zone" in the entire 9.41 chapter of the RCW that I can find. The areas within the zone don't qualify as "school premises" according to section (1). It appears as though these "zones" are simply warnings that you are within 1000 ft of a school, but that they carry no legal weight at all, and they are not any sort of restriction for people carrying firearms either with or without a CPL.

    Am I wrong, or are these "zones" just a bunch of signs, paid for with my taxes, that are completely and utterly void of any significance?



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    The only time I have heard of a gun free zone is in the following video which tells you how to set one up: http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...53135377963040

    Seriously though, never heard of these signs before. From what I understand ANYONE by federal law is exempt from the GFSZ act if they have a permit issued by the state in which they are standing. ( http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/batf_school_zone.pdf ). Of course your state law may be more strict then this federal law, I don't know. I don't think mine is, but still a big no-no on school property, or school functions unless dropping off or picking up and don't get out of the vehicle etc. Since I have a PER-mit, just coming close to the schools is not an infraction, good thing since I live right across the street from a school.

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    I believe washington follows the federal guidlines for the Gun-Free Zone.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    That's what I was afraid of. That basically means that, without a permit, you cannot carry AT ALL within 1000 ft of a school. Even though open carry is legal without a permit, it is illegal within these "gun free zones".

    We can't very well be telling people that it's okay to openly carry without a permit if they can't carry anywhere that's within 1000 ft. of a school. That basically covers about 50% of my neighborhood. In fact, the "gun free zone" starts right at the end of my yard. So, without a CPL (which I do have, but I'm playing devil's advocate here), I'm essentially defenseless once I go past my driveway.

    Thanks federal government!

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    Cue-Ball wrote:
    That's what I was afraid of. That basically means that, without a permit, you cannot carry AT ALL within 1000 ft of a school. Even though open carry is legal without a permit, it is illegal within these "gun free zones".

    We can't very well be telling people that it's okay to openly carry without a permit if they can't carry anywhere that's within 1000 ft. of a school. That basically covers about 50% of my neighborhood. In fact, the "gun free zone" starts right at the end of my yard. So, without a CPL (which I do have, but I'm playing devil's advocate here), I'm essentially defenseless once I go past my driveway.

    Thanks federal government!
    stupid question, but i've always wondered... as i live in a school zone (on the edge)


    so what if you live across the street from a school.... can you take your guns from your house to your car?

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    uncoolperson wrote:
    stupid question, but i've always wondered... as i live in a school zone (on the edge)


    so what if you live across the street from a school.... can you take your guns from your house to your car?
    I'm no lawyer, but according to federal law, you cannot step on public, "gun free" property, without a permit. So, you could carry your guns to your car, but only if you're parked on your property. If you have to cross the sidewalk, which is public "gun free" property, you would technically be breaking the law, I believe.

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    Cue-Ball wrote:
    uncoolperson wrote:
    stupid question, but i've always wondered... as i live in a school zone (on the edge)


    so what if you live across the street from a school.... can you take your guns from your house to your car?
    I'm no lawyer, but according to federal law, you cannot step on public, "gun free" property, without a permit. So, you could carry your guns to your car, but only if you're parked on your property. If you have to cross the sidewalk, which is public "gun free" property, you would technically be breaking the law, I believe.
    dang, i need to move somewhere with off street parking.

    i have a permit for my pistol... i was thinking more about the rest of the 'arsenal'

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    uncoolperson wrote:
    Cue-Ball wrote:
    uncoolperson wrote:
    stupid question, but i've always wondered... as i live in a school zone (on the edge)


    so what if you live across the street from a school.... can you take your guns from your house to your car?
    I'm no lawyer, but according to federal law, you cannot step on public, "gun free" property, without a permit. So, you could carry your guns to your car, but only if you're parked on your property. If you have to cross the sidewalk, which is public "gun free" property, you would technically be breaking the law, I believe.
    dang, i need to move somewhere with off street parking.

    i have a permit for my pistol... i was thinking more about the rest of the 'arsenal'
    I assume you are talking about long guns. Do you normally transport them loaded? You are allowed to have unloaded firearms in the gun free zone if they are in a locked container. So you put a padlock on the zipper of a softcase or on the hasp of a hardcase. You legal if you do that.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    uncoolperson wrote:
    Cue-Ball wrote:
    uncoolperson wrote:
    stupid question, but i've always wondered... as i live in a school zone (on the edge)


    so what if you live across the street from a school.... can you take your guns from your house to your car?
    I'm no lawyer, but according to federal law, you cannot step on public, "gun free" property, without a permit. So, you could carry your guns to your car, but only if you're parked on your property. If you have to cross the sidewalk, which is public "gun free" property, you would technically be breaking the law, I believe.
    dang, i need to move somewhere with off street parking.

    i have a permit for my pistol... i was thinking more about the rest of the 'arsenal'
    I assume you are talking about long guns. Do you normally transport them loaded? You are allowed to have unloaded firearms in the gun free zone if they are in a locked container. So you put a padlock on the zipper of a softcase or on the hasp of a hardcase. You legal if you do that.

    bike chain around a blanket? (no cases yet, too many other toys for them)

    moving soon, i was more curious than anything else

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    I think the Federal Gun-Free School Zone was struck down in court, so it can't be enforced as being more restrictive than state law. (Throwing a penalty flag on myself -- I don't have the cite, sorry).

    Basically, you can ignore the "distance from school" part of Federal law, and just follow state law. That means stay out of the buildings, and if you have to go on school property, you may do so for most forms of legitimate business such as dropping of a student, visiting a teacher, or voting. For those justified visits, you must lock the gun in your car and proceed unarmed to go into a building. Open carrying while walking past a school on the sidewalk is legal.

    There is a public park across the street from my old neighborhood school, and I used to go there with my kids and OC pretty regularly. It was my understanding that this was legal, because it was not school property. I do realize, however, that if the park were to be taken over by an exclusive school event, that I would have to leave the gun at home or in the car to attend.

    --Sandy (WA)


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    sandy wrote:
    I think the Federal Gun-Free School Zone was struck down in court, so it can't be enforced as being more restrictive than state law. (Throwing a penalty flag on myself -- I don't have the cite, sorry).

    Does anyone have a link to this decision? I would like to read it.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    sandy wrote:
    I think the Federal Gun-Free School Zone was struck down in court, so it can't be enforced as being more restrictive than state law. (Throwing a penalty flag on myself -- I don't have the cite, sorry).
    Does anyone have a link to this decision? I would like to read it.
    Nope. It was initially struck down as being an unreasonable stretch of the Commerce Clause, but it was reworded. The existing law may very well still be an unreasonable stretch of the Commerce Clause, but it hasn't been challenged.

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    If you possess a Washington State CCW, you are not bound by the 1000-foot school zone restriction, as it explicitly includes an exception for those persons licensed where the license includes a background check. 18 USC 922 (q)(2)(B)(ii)

    You are still restricted from carry on school grounds, though.

    So if you have a CCW, you can drive by the school while carrying and you aren't restricted in your own home.

    See also:

    http://www.gunlaws.com/Gun_Free_School_Zones_Act.pdf

    http://www.gunlaws.com/Gun_Free_School_Zones_Talk.htm

    http://www.gunlaws.com/Gun_Free_School_Zones_Amend.htm

    And: IANAL. Cousult someone who is AL if you have any doubt.

    N.B., I've produced a little reference sheet you may want to print up and put in your wallet. Print two copies, flip them over and print on the backside if your printer doesn't do duplexing...

    http://www.impsec.org/~jhardin/firearms_laws_washington.pdf


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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    Cue-Ball wrote:
    9.41.280
    Possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities — Penalty — Exceptions.(1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

    Am I wrong, or are these "zones" just a bunch of signs, paid for with my taxes, that are completely and utterly void of any significance?
    You can go to jail if you ignore them and carry onto school grounds. But to prevent a madman from going on a rampage and slaughtering a bunch of kids, yes, they are completely and utterly void of any significance.

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    Keep in mind of what Sandy said above. If you have a permit you can carry on school groundsas long as it remains in your car or you are picking up or dropping off a student.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    John Hardin wrote:
    Cue-Ball wrote:
    9.41.280
    Possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities — Penalty — Exceptions.(1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

    Am I wrong, or are these "zones" just a bunch of signs, paid for with my taxes, that are completely and utterly void of any significance?
    You can go to jail if you ignore them and carry onto school grounds. But to prevent a madman from going on a rampage and slaughtering a bunch of kids, yes, they are completely and utterly void of any significance.
    Not completely true for Washington. Youare not required to do anything with you gun except carry it as usual when dropping off and picking up a student. At least this is what the SheltonSchool cop says. I would tend to believe him as he has been doing this for a number ofyears. I seem to have read it in Workman's book too.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.280

    (1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

    (a) Any firearm;
    (3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

    ...

    (e) Any person in possession of a pistol who has been issued a license under RCW 9.41.070, or is exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, while picking up or dropping off a student;

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    joeroket wrote:
    If you have a permit you can carry on school groundsas long as it remains in your car or you are picking up or dropping off a student.
    Whoops! Yes, that's correct. My mental image while writing that was carrying while on foot.

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    John Hardin wrote:
    You can go to jail if you ignore them and carry onto school grounds. But to prevent a madman from going on a rampage and slaughtering a bunch of kids, yes, they are completely and utterly void of any significance.
    School grounds and 1000 feet away from school grounds is two entirely different things.

    This is what we know to be true: I can carry, legally, into a "gun free zone" if I have a permit. I can carry, legally, onto school grounds, so long as it's for the purpose of dropping off or picking up a student.

    The big sticking point is, if I do NOT have a permit, this law apparently prevents me from entering normal, public property, if that property is within a thousand feet of any school.
    Frankly, I don't see how in the world this could be legal. But I guess I don't really see how restricting firearms from the Post Office, schools, etc. can be legal (constitutional) either...

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    Does the "gun free zone" also apply durring the summer when the school isn't being used. I took my son to a school to play on the toys that are out back last week and I was thinking that I should have had my weapon with me. and I wouldn't want my wife to go there alone without a weapon because it seems kinda issolated away from houses, streets, etc...

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    heatho wrote:
    Does the "gun free zone" also apply durring the summer when the school isn't being used. I took my son to a school to play on the toys that are out back last week and I was thinking that I should have had my weapon with me. and I wouldn't want my wife to go there alone without a weapon because it seems kinda issolated away from houses, streets, etc...
    School zone is still school zone no matter time during the day or the year. Sorry

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    heatho wrote:
    Does the "gun free zone" also apply durring the summer when the school isn't being used. I took my son to a school to play on the toys that are out back last week and I was thinking that I should have had my weapon with me. and I wouldn't want my wife to go there alone without a weapon because it seems kinda issolated away from houses, streets, etc...
    It is not that law that would get you. It is 9.41.280 that says you cannot carry onto school premises unless it is in your vehicle or you are picking up or dropping off a student. The law only states "school premises". They are school premises 24/7/365 if they are owned by the school district.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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