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Thread: School Zone Open Carry

  1. #1
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    School Zone Open Carry

    I have been lurking on this forum for about a year, and so far the search function has always provided a clear and well cited answer. Now I finally have a question that I have been unable to answer, which is also a good excuse to join the online community that I always recommend to fellow open carriers.

    West Virginia Code Chapter 61-7-11a makes no reference to a 1000 ft. gun free zone. The federal "Gun Free School Zone" 18 USC 922(q), exempts those who are licensed to carry if a background check is a requirement for the license.

    Since a WV CHL only authorizes me to carry a concealed handgun/revolver, can I legally open carry within 1000 feet of a school?

  2. #2
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    Yes. A West Virginia concealed pistol/revolver license provides the licensee a complete exemption from the federal GFSZA within the State of West Virginia. As it relates to school property, a licensed individual need only worry about state law.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
    Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Florida.

    Founder, Past President, Treasurer, and General Counsel, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    Life Member, NRA

  3. #3
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    Not to hijack, but didn't want to start a new thread on basicly the same subject...

    I have my CC permit, and normally carry all the time. Today I had to be on school property here in WV, so to eliminate any possible issues, I did not take my firearm with me.

    Is it leagle to have and leave my gun in the truck, unloaded and cased, while my truck is parked on school property? I'm ok with not being able to have it on my person at the school, but don't want to have to leave it at the house an hour away, and not be able to have it with me everywhere else I would go on the trip.

    Any guidelines? What are the rules at the state level? Federal level?
    Last edited by Dieselcrawler; 03-24-2011 at 10:41 PM.
    Greg

    Semper Paratus -- latin, Always Prepaired

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselcrawler View Post
    I have my CC permit, and normally carry all the time. Today I had to be on school property here in WV, so to eliminate any possible issues, I did not take my firearm with me.

    Is it legal to have and leave my gun in the truck, unloaded and cased, while my truck is parked on school property? I'm ok with not being able to have it on my person at the school, but don't want to have to leave it at the house an hour away, and not be able to have it with me everywhere else I would go on the trip.

    Any guidelines? What are the rules at the state level?
    As a matter of STATE law, W.Va. Code 61-7-11a(b)(2)(C) provides an exemption from the STATE law to any person who "possesses an unloaded firearm or deadly weapon in a motor vehicle, or leaves an unloaded firearm or deadly weapon in a locked motor vehicle[.]" Thus, as long as your gun is unloaded at all times your vehicle is on school property, there is no violation of state law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselcrawler View Post
    Federal level?
    The FEDERAL law is different. A person with a WV CHL is completely exempt from 18 U.S.C. 922(q)(2) within the State of West Virginia; it is solely because of STATE law that a WV CHL holder cannot carry without restriction on school property in West Virginia. However, if you do not have a CHL issued within the state in which the school zone is located, the federal law requires that, in addition to being unloaded, any firearm possessed or stored within a vehicle be in a locked container or a locked gun rack (not a requirement under West Virginia state law).

    To recap, a WV CHL holder is completely exempt from the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act within the State of West Virginia under 18 U.S.C. 922(q)(2)(B)(ii). However, because of W.Va. Code 61-7-11a(b), we cannot legally possess a firearm on school property at any time with the very narrow exceptions stated in W.Va. Code 61-7-11a(b)(2). If the Legislature ever amended the law (as was proposed this year in HB 3125 and SB 543) to give CHL holders the same exemption under state law as we already have under the federal law, we could join our friends in Alabama, California, Delaware, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Utah (links: part 1 | part 2) who can legally carry in school property without restriction with a license. Additionally, in Missouri, the possession of a concealed firearm on school property by a person with a CCW endorsement is not a criminal act but may subject the person to denial to the premises or removal from the premises (licensed individuals are completely exempt from Missouri's general prohibition on carrying on school property); if the person refuses to leave when asked, the offense is a noncriminal offense punishable only by a fine of not more than $100 for a first offense.
    Last edited by JimMullinsWVCDL; 03-25-2011 at 12:07 AM.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
    Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Florida.

    Founder, Past President, Treasurer, and General Counsel, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    Life Member, NRA

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    So if I have my pistol unloaded and in a locked case, and the ammo also in a seprate locked case or area of my vehicle, I should be legel if I need to park my vehicle on school property. No gun or ammo on my person, and everything in the truck locked up seprately? Based on haveing my concealed carry permit, and a ligitimate reason for being on school property in the first place.
    Greg

    Semper Paratus -- latin, Always Prepaired

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselcrawler View Post
    So if I have my pistol unloaded and in a locked case, and the ammo also in a seprate locked case or area of my vehicle, I should be legel if I need to park my vehicle on school property. No gun or ammo on my person, and everything in the truck locked up seprately? Based on haveing my concealed carry permit, and a ligitimate reason for being on school property in the first place.
    As a WV CHL holder, you would need only unload your firearm before driving onto school property in WV. There is no requirement in WV state law for additional separation of the ammo from the gun or for the gun to even be in a case. However, the gun and ammo must be kept inside the vehicle (and the vehicle locked when unattended) at all times.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
    Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Florida.

    Founder, Past President, Treasurer, and General Counsel, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    Life Member, NRA

  7. #7
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    Thanks Jim, that seems clear, and gives me some leval of comfort knowing I can at least keep my stuff in the truck, with a minumum ammount of hassle, and still be legel. Not the case in OH... seems reprocity isn't complete when it comes to school zones...
    Greg

    Semper Paratus -- latin, Always Prepaired

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    In Virginia, CHP holders can carry while in the vehicle while the vehicle is on a paved surface (summarizing). So one might, for example, show up to drop off or pick up kids attending school or events without having to go to a lot of hoo-hah about the gun.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  9. #9
    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    In Virginia, CHP holders can carry while in the vehicle while the vehicle is on a paved surface (summarizing). So one might, for example, show up to drop off or pick up kids attending school or events without having to go to a lot of hoo-hah about the gun.
    I know this is an old thread but is there any provision for this in WV? I am frequently in the situation where I have to pull over, unload my firearm, put in the glove box, then pull back into traffic, turn into my son's school, pick him up (never getting out of my vehicle), leave the school, pull back over and reload/re-holster the firearm. I would love to not to have to do this if it indeed is permitted. I don't like all the unnecessary handling of the gun ESPECIALLY after I have the boy in the back seat.

  10. #10
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    So after reading this discussion several times, and researching title 18, I can only conclude that with an out of state CCW permit you must stay 1000' away from WV primary and secondary schools. There was an exception for private property, but what if you use public roads to access the private property? This would put many small towns for the most part off limits.

    Am I thinking correctly here?

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