Is it legal in Texas to bring a gun on school grounds? Here is what the law says
Another shooting has occurred on a Texas school campus, this time in Arlington.
Two Lamar High School students were injured in a shooting on campus early Monday morning. Both victims were taken to area hospitals for treatment and the suspect has been arrested by Arlington Police.
The Lamar case is just one of several incidents across Texas in many years, including the Uvalde shooting last year. Here’s what Texas and federal law states about guns on campuses:
Are Texas school campuses gun-free zones?
Yes, under the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.
This law makes it illegal for any individual to knowingly possess a firearm in a school zone. This means that its illegal for anyone to possess a firearm in or on the grounds of a public or private school, or within 1,000 feet of school grounds.
The penalty for violating the Gun-Free School Zones Act includes a fine of $5,000, imprisonment for up to five years or both. The only exemption to this law is if the Texas resident has a license to carry a handgun, but does not enter the school building.
Is constitutional carry allowed on Texas campuses?
No, constitutional carry is not allowed on Texas school campuses.
In 2021, Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 1927 allowing anyone over 21 years of age to carry a handgun without a permit, also known as “constitutional carry.” People can still apply for a handgun license if they choose, but the law does not require it.
Under Texas penal code 46.03, a person commits an offense if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly possess or goes in a school with a firearm, knife, club or prohibited weapon:
According to Texas law, no guns are allowed: “On the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private.”
The only exemption to this law is if the person has written authorization from the school or institution.
Are guns allowed on Texas campus parking lots?
Yes, but only if the person has a license to carry a handgun.
Under Texas Education Code 37.0815, a school district may not prohibit a person, including a school employee, from transporting or storing a handgun in their locked vehicle in the parking lot or other parking area provided by the school.
“[The district] may not regulate the manner in which the handgun, firearm, or ammunition is stored in the vehicle, provided that the handgun, firearm, or ammunition is not in plain view,” Texas law states.