Guns and School Zones: What You Need to Know | Oklahoma

The following is a video transcript.

Oklahoma Self-Defense act

Under Oklahoma law, it is illegal to carry a firearm onto school premises or on the school grounds. The Oklahoma Self-defense Act 21 OS § 1277 A makes it unlawful for any person in possession of a valid concealed handgun license to carry into any public or private elementary school, or any public or private secondary school, except as provided in subsections C and D of this section.

Section C deals with allowing the carrying of firearms on private school property. This exception is rarely used by private schools. Section D allows the board of education of a school district to authorize school personnel to carry firearms under limited circumstances.

Vehicle Carry Exceptions

There are also exceptions to the general rule prohibiting carrying into certain property. One exception allows vehicle carry in public, private, elementary, or secondary school property set aside for parking; but the gun must be stored and hidden from view when the car is parked on school property. This means that a CHL holder can carry in his car while picking up or dropping off his kids and park in a designated parking lot at the school, but must leave the gun in the car. If the car is unattended, the car must be locked and the gun must be out of sight.

Section F allows a CHL holder to carry a handgun in their vehicle on university property and store the handgun in the car while parked on the college premises. Without these exceptions, CHL holders who carry could be convicted of a criminal offense.


Is the Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act the same? No. The federal law creates an entirely new offense solely related to geography.

Under federal law, there is a blanket prohibition that makes it illegal to possess a gun within 1,000 feet of a public, parochial, or private school. There are exceptions which make that prohibition a little easier to stomach. Here are the three most common exceptions:

  1. A person with a license to carry a handgun issued by the state where the school zone is located.
  2. A person who lives within 1,000 feet of a school may have firearms in their home.
  3. People may carry a long gun in a case or on a rack in their vehicle.

childcare facilities and religious institutions

Finally, there are no exceptions for daycare centers located on school premises. If the daycare is located on school grounds, the law prohibiting firearms still applies. Should your church operate a private school on church premises, then the private school (if chartered, authorized, and accredited), is a prohibited area for concealed carry, unless it created a policy exemption under 21 OS § 1277 C. The private school would have to adopt a written policy allowing open or concealed carry by CHL holders.

The issue of school-related gun-free zones is a fast-changing area of the law. For any questions regarding carrying in a school zone, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.


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