Having a firearm in a school zone is a complex and confusing issue because both federal and state law applies. Let us first look at the restrictions under federal law. The Gun-Free School Zones Act prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm within a thousand feet of a school. However, there are several exceptions to this prohibition.
The three most common exceptions are, number one, you have an unloaded firearm that is locked in a container or locked in a rack in your vehicle. Number two, you possess a concealed carry license from the state in which the school is in. Under federal law, a Florida CWFL holder would be allowed to possess a firearm within a thousand feet of a school located in Florida. However, if that CWFL holder travels to Texas, he or she would not be allowed to be within a thousand feet of a Texas school with a firearm. Number three, you are on a private property. For example, your house which is located within a thousand feet of a school.
Florida state law is different from federal law. Under Florida law, an individual cannot possess a firearm on any school property, school bus stop or at school sponsored events at any time regardless if school is in session or not.
For purposes of firearm regulation, school means any preschool, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center or post secondary school whether public or private. An individual can possess a firearm in his vehicle so long as it is securely encased or not readily accessible. Although the State of Florida has generally preempted local governments from interfering with the state firearm laws, one exception made by the legislature was to allow school districts to adopt rules prohibiting firearms in vehicles with on-campus parking privileges.
In order for this prohibition to be valid, the school district must have a written and published policy regarding securely encased firearms in a vehicle. If a person has a CWFL and they violate this law, they can only be charged with a second degree misdemeanor as opposed to a person who does not have a CWFL who would be committing a third degree felony.
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