Back to School: Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Virginia

Back to School

As our kids get ready to go back to school, our Independent Program Attorney, Ed Riley explains the laws in Virginia regarding guns and schools.


Hi, Ed Riley, U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney for Virginia, and today we’re going to cover issues concerning Campus Carry on universities and lower schools, and firearms.

One of the questions we often get is, “Can I carry a firearm on a university or college campus?”

The answer is, “It depends.”

It depends on whether the university or college campus is public or private. If it’s a private university, they can restrict firearm usage and carry, just like any other private individual or private company. If it’s a public university, then there are certain guidelines and rules that are pretty consistent throughout all the public schools in the state of Virginia that restrict where you can carry firearms, specifically including buildings and most campus events.

Public schools can generally prohibit employees or students from carrying firearms on their grounds. And they can specifically prohibit the individual from bringing firearms into a building or to a school event. But they otherwise cannot generally prohibit an individual not otherwise attached to the school from carrying a firearm on the general open campus or grounds.

Whether it be a public or a private university or college, we highly recommend that you check that university’s or college’s policies before actually carrying a firearm onto their grounds.

Turning to elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, they are generally governed by Virginia Code Section 18.2-308.1. Specifically, this prohibits guns from about anywhere involving those types of schools.

There are exceptions, however.

Some of the more notable, or what we would suggest are the more important, exceptions would include those events or school-sponsored activities. These events or school-sponsored activities would include law enforcement officers and people that have their guns, that are in closed containers, or on a gun rack unloaded, as well as someone with a concealed handgun permit, as long as they are within the egress or ingress portions of the school, which would include driveways and parking lots.

We cover this topic and many others in our recently published book, Virginia Gun Law, Armed And Educated. Click here to see more or to order.

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