Table and chair (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Thanks to the Texas-modified Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990, I can’t carry a firearm inside my daughter’s school. If I was caught doing so I’d be looking at a five-year stretch and the end of my gun rights. So I leave home without it. Which leaves me, a volunteer lunchroom assistant, opening recalcitrant pudding pots and proffering plastic knives, napkins, straws and bathroom passes to some 525 children, unarmed. My only potential weapon against an attacker: a metal and plastic chair. In a crisis, I could run back to my truck. By the time I got back . . . But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good guy with a gun in the school . . . somewhere . . .

In June, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the Protection of Texas Children Act. The Act creates an optional School Marshal position in charter and public k-12 schools with more than 400 students (one Marshall per school). After tactical prep work—80 hours of training including mental health evaluation(i.e. how to spot clock tower kids), active shooter and emergency situation training, and firearms proficiency requirements—the armed Marshal is good to go.

According to the Act, only the school’s head administrator and law enforcement know the Marshall’s identity. Strangely, worryingly, the Act mandates that the double secret Marshal’s weapon must be kept under lock and key.

Can it be an AR-15? Anyway, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Nope. The undercover Marshall must be a school employee. Volunteers need not apply. Casting a judicious eye on the teachers’ and administrators’ attitude and attire, considering Austin’s liberal bent, I reckon my kid’s school is a Marshall-free zone. How great is that?

There is a ray of hope for my aspiration to provide personal part-time protection for the most precious life on planet Earth. Under Texas law, an adult can carry a firearm in a school if the Principal OK’s it in writing.

What Austin Principal would [potentially] put his job on the line to “allow” a parent to carry in school? Dunno. But I do know that this article punches a big hole through OpSec, and the Principal in question is as hard to read as The Gulag Archipelago. In Russian. The effort will require a major, sustained charm campaign—exactly the kind of schmoozing for which I’m not known. Still, needs must . . .

The school security situation would have been very different if my daughter and I had ended-up in the Levelland Independent School District, about 30 miles west of Lubbock. Post-Newtown, educators thereabouts decided it was time for teachers to tool-up. Back before the thermostat fell in love with triple digits,Superintendent Baggett told abcnews.go.com  he was looking to train and arm a brace of teachers in each school. And so he has.

That’s still not a lot of firepower. But two armed first responders are exponentially better than one, in terms of deterrence and rapid response. And at least they’re “allowed” on-body carry.

Perfectly justified parental paranoia aside, living in left-leaning Silicon Hills has its advantages. Massage Envy is one of them. The  chain provides first-class muscle manipulation at a reasonable price (no “happy endings”). The masseurs are built for pressure not pulchritude, but the receptionists tend to be all that and a bag of chips (as the Brits would say).

So . . . what do I do with my gun? I’ve got a small safe in my truck but I don’t feel safe leaving my gun in the truck. For one thing, theft. For another, I like my gun. My gun likes me. We belong together.

The first time I submitted my ancient body to Massage Envy’s mass-market masseuse I asked the counter babe how she wanted to play it, gun storage-wise. She was phenomenally flummoxed. “I have no idea,” she replied. “No one’s ever asked us that before,” she added, as if I’d just enquired if she had genital herpes. The gat ended-up waiting in the truck, harshing my mellow.

Concealed means concealed? I suppose.

The second time I faced the “do I keep my gun close by while she’s kneading my tissue” issue I left the Caracal C in the truck. After discovering (through discreet enquiry) that the masseuse was a Texan with firearms experience, I asked her if she’d mind if I brought my firearm into the room for the next session. “I’d feel a lot safer if you did,” she said. “Just don’t tell anyone.”

Other than TTAG’s 60,000 daily readers, I presume. Still, could there have been a better answer? [Note: I’ll hide my heater during the undressing phase just in case I’m being played.]

The thing about Texas is this: the state’s gun laws haven’t caught up with its gun culture. There’s no open carry, for example.

But The Lone Star State’s heading in the right direction, fast. Open Carry gets a hearing the next time the legislature convenes. And while Texas ain’t as gun-friendly as its perceived to be, the good news is that some states that don’t have a rep for firearms freedom are a lot more pro-gun than you’d imagine.

Newtown or no, there are the 18 states that allow adults to carry loaded weapons onto school grounds with few or minor conditions (amended list courtesy nbcnews.com). Ironically (or not), a few of the states that “allow” concealed carry on campus have a de facto ban on concealed carry (e.g., Hawaii, New Jersey, parts of California).

  • Alabama (which bans possessing a weapon on school grounds only if the carrier has “intent to do bodily harm”)
  • California (with approval of the superintendent)
  • Connecticut (with approval of “school officials”)
  • Hawaii (no specific law)
  • Idaho (with school trustees’ approval)
  • Iowa (with “authorization”)
  • Kentucky (with school board approval)
  • Massachusetts (with approval of the school board or principal)
  • Mississippi (with school board approval)
  • Montana (with school trustees’ permission)
  • New Hampshire (ban applies only to pupils, not adults)
  • New Jersey (with approval from the school’s “governing officer”)
  • New York (with the school’s approval)
  • Oregon (with a state concealed weapons permit)
  • Rhode Island (with a state concealed weapons permit)
  • Texas (with the school’s permission)
  • Utah (with approval of the “responsible school administrator”)
  • Wyoming (as long as it’s not concealed)

I particularly like Wyoming’s take on matter: you can carry on school grounds as long as the gun’s not concealed. (As mlive.com reports, the same holds true in Michigan.) At least someone’s thought this through. You know, for the children.

47 Responses to Random Thoughts About School Lunches and Gun Envy

  1. Robert, in Texas, a CHL holder can carry a gun on the school grounds, but not inside the buildings or at school events. The law as written is not clear to me, but that’s how my CHL instructor explained it to us. He have the example of how he legally runs on the track at the local high school while carrying, but it would be illegal to carry there while a track meet was going on.

    I got my CHL after the Beslan attack so that I could legally have my gun with me when dropping off and picking up my kid at school.

    • Thats exactly what was taught in my TX CHL class also. On the premises is cool but entering the building is a NO NO.

      • Thanks for the correction. Text amended.

        Does that mean I can leave my gun in my truck parked on school property? Must find out.

        • I was told by the instructor of my class about when he takes his kids to school or anything else (he is also former LE), he can carry up to the threshold of the door itself, but not cross into the actual building. If a teacher wanted to talk to him, theyd have to come to the door and speak. Something I would like to now verify since Im not 100% sure about it.

        • Yes, provided that it is secured. To be safe, think lockbox cabled inside locked glove box inside locked car. Inconvenient as heck, but better than stolen. And I don’t ever want to have to explain to a cop (or school official) why my gun was accessed by a criminal on school property. Those 30.06 signs at the parking lot entrances are not just meaningless here in TX, but they are actually illegal for the school to post.

    • Washington state as well. Legal to carry your concealed pistol when dropping off or picking up a student, but you cannot enter any school facilities or buildings. Since the permit is specifically “Concealed Pistol Permit” I don’t think bringing a long gun would be a good idea, concealed or not.

  2. In Michigan, in order to open carry on school grounds, you have to have a valid CPL (concealed pistol license).

  3. Robert – I grew up in Lubbock and worked for a time in Levelland, which is aptly named because it is, well, flat. I mean really flat. So is Lubbock, of course, but the small towns in the South Plains like to be accurately named, as in Shallowater, Littlefield, Muleshoe, Earth, Sudan (as in sudan grass), and Levelland.

    Levelland is where a friend of mine was arrested for public consumption of alcohol. He was drinking a beer while washing his car in his own driveway. Gun loving, yes. Gun supporting, yes. All the rest of it? Flat, brown, and butt-ugly.

  4. In Wisconsin, with a CCW you can edge your toes up to the school property line while carrying. Both of my houses are in the 1K zone so without a CCW, I would have to stay within my iron pipes.
    I would not be able to park my car in the street next to my house because there would be ten feet of felony land between the car and safety. Even though we do have open carry no licence required, the 1K rule then applies.

  5. The staff at BOTH schools I work at want me to carry my gun, but sadly the superintendents (I work in two different districts) can only see the (imagined) downside of my doing so. Its a crappy feeling to know that my own personal feelings are echoed by my fellow school employees but I can’t act to protect them and the students in the best way possible. At least I’ve got my blade, I guess… coughcough knife to a gunfight coughcough

  6. TTAG has Oregon a bit wrong. Those with CHL’s are exempt from any public school rule. One CAN carry legally without having to earn permission.
    State colleges and universities are a different matter.
    (Oregon revised statutes) ORS 166.291 and 166.292 cover the exemptions.

  7. In Utah you don’t need anyone’s permission to carry on school grounds, just a CFP (unless it’s a private school, then they can ban weapons on campus).

  8. Actually, the Gun Free Schools Act has an exemption for people holding carry licenses, but only if state law requires that “before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license.”

    So in absence of a state or local law to the contrary, a person holding a concealed carry permit would be exempt from the carry prohibition.

  9. Correct on AL. As long as you have a permit and intend no illegal bodily harm, your concealed firearm is good. I’ve worn mine to Christmas parties, field trips, and parent /teacher conferences.
    By the way Robert, does Texas allow you to carry pepper spray on school property?

  10. Nevada Allows carry on school grounds with the written approval of the school administrator for the building/property you are going to be in/on

  11. It’s both sad and pathetic that many school safety policies are guided by emotional
    rather that intellectual arguments about what will protect our children the best, that
    being, a sign that says Gun-free Zone, or a responsible adult who can carry a gun.
    This is surely the result of education system that is, top to bottom, run by liberals.
    How damning is it that logic and intellectual rigor are banned in so many schools?

  12. Wow i learned something i knew Kentucky had open carry i didn’t know you could pack on school grounds with school board permission. Wonder how hard it’d be to get their blessing to pack at my son’s school?

  13. There’s always a work around, Robert.

    While serving your daughter’s school in the capacity of “volunteer lunchroom assistant”, you have indicated that you already have at your disposal a ready means for self defense; if attacked, use the straws and the paper wrap they come in to mount a counter offense with … spit-balls.

  14. So why are your kids in the goverment schools? In Texas hardly have a great reputation for quality education. Find a friendly private school. I’ll guess that not hard in Austin as every gov’t city typically have great private school/schools as that is where the overpaid civil “servants”/teachers send their crumb crunchers (not to the schools they OWN).

    If you are paid $1/yr then you are an employee. Donate the $1 (or $100) if that is what it takes. If you want to become an employee

  15. Robert – if the charm offensive fails, and you are convinced that there is no way to rationally persuade the principal to give you written permission to carry in the school, send him a certified mail return receipt letter (with a prominent cc to your lawyer) requesting the permission. Demand a written response, and add a sentence to the letter that says “failure to respond to this letter shall be construed as permission”. (That will get a response). When he asks why you want a written response, tell him your lawyer recommended it just in case a preventable tragedy occurs on the school grounds. Or even better, have your lawyer write the letter. If nothing else, it will put the principal’s knickers in a severe twist.

  16. Two of my kids went to high school in Landover. MD. God help anyone who tried a school shooting there – the STUDENTS would blast them into the afterlife.

  17. Here are the main “reasons” why people claim to object to armed staff and parents in schools. They claim that an armed adult will:
    (1) have a bad day and shoot students
    (2) accidentally shoot and injure someone
    (3) lose their gun then students will find it and shoot someone
    (4) shoot several bystanders if a spree killer shows up

    Let’s look at those arguments …

    A person who is deranged enough to shoot students will do it regardless of laws or school policies so argument (1) is silly.

    A person who keeps their handgun in a properly fitting holster that covers the trigger will never discharge their firearm accidentally or lose it. If we trust adults to store a firearm in a vehicle while they are in a school, we can equally trust those same adults to store a firearm in a properly fitting holster on their hip while inside the school. Thus arguments (2) and (3) are silly.

    We have lots of data and experience with armed citizens using their firearms in self-defense situations. Armed citizens almost never shoot innocent bystanders during a self-defense event!!! If it happened, our mainstream media would never let us hear the end of it. More importantly, an armed citizen engaging a spree killer in a school would radically reduce the spree killer’s body count because the spree killer would spend all of their attention, energy, and action fighting the armed citizen. If the spree killer is fighting an armed citizen, they are no longer hunting students, they are no longer able to move slowly and methodically, and they are no longer able to take carefully aimed shots. This fact alone should be a slam dunk reason to have armed citizens in schools. The fact that armed citizens almost never shoot innocent bystanders is just frosting on the cake. Thus argument (4) is silly.

    So I close with a simple question: why do we respect such silly arguments and laws passed for such silly arguments?

    • Was that a trick question? “…why do we respect such silly arguments and laws passed for such silly arguments?”

      Ummm – because, as shown by the 52+% of the electorate who voted for Obama in 2012 (after seeing his lack of qualifications in his first term), at least 52% of the American electorate are total, blithering, irrational idiots.

  18. Rob,

    Your list has a few errors, in California and Utah, a permit is all that is needed.

    In Michigan, permit holders may carry openly in schools.

  19. A volunteer lunchroom assistant!!!

    I would have never guessed!

    I gotta know! do you wear a hairnet???

    Those flat little rectangular pizza’s – do you know what is really in them??

  20. “There is a ray of hope for my aspiration to provide personal part-time protection for the most precious life on planet Earth. Under Texas law, an adult can carry a firearm in a school if the Principal OK’s it in writing.”

    I think you should walk up to the principal and say…

    “I am Robert Farago. Do you know who I am? The… Robert Farago. The TTAG guy… The… TTAG. Robert Farago… TTAG. Now are you going to issue me that letter stating I am ‘A-ok’ to carry here at this school thus protecting you and these children from possible psycho-maniacs… or not??” Then hand him a TTAG Logo Mug.

  21. For NH residents, the Gun Owners of NH, gonh.org, states carrying in a school zone is not clear.
    “What about federal law, does it restrict where I can carry a firearm in New Hampshire? Yes, it does, you cannot lawfully carry a firearm in federal courthouses. Federal law also arguably prohibits carrying a firearm in federal buildings and potentially New Hampshire school zones which is defined as elementary, junior high, and high school (simply because of the language in R.S.A. 159:6, which arguably does not ―require a New Hampshire licensee to make sure the applicant is ―qualified under law to receive a New Hampshire license.. No New Hampshire licensee has been challenged on this point yet, don‘t be the test case!).”

  22. Add Indiana. You can carry inside the building with permission. You can have it in the car as long as you’re there only to transport a student.

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