Deborah Bettencourt (courtesy fcusd.org)

President George H.W. Bush signed The Gun Free School Zones Act in 1990. Under its [revised] provisions, Americans cannot exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms within 1000 feet of a designated school zone. That’s unless the state or an individual school within a state allows it. And the gun carrier possesses a firearms carry license from the same state. sfgate.com reveals that the 33-school Folsom Cordova Unified School District (east of Sacramento) has armed its teachers. Well, some of them . . .

After rumors circulated about the presence of guns inside Folsom Cordova schools, School Superintendent Deborah Bettencourt [above] responded to parents’ and press inquiries. In a statement posted on the district’s website, Ms. Bettencourt admitted that there have been guns on campus for the last six years. She offered the following explanation for the policy:

For the last several years, I have worked collaboratively with local law enforcement and our Board of Education to allow trained, select employees with valid concealed weapons permits (CCWs) to safely store and access a firearm in the case of an emergency in some of our sites and facilities.

We are all too aware of mass shootings in school communities and the dangers posed by criminals who want to do harm. The safety of our students, staff, and families, is our number one priority, and our narrow practice of allowing select, law-abiding employees to securely store and access a firearm in the event of an emergency is a legal and appropriate safety measure given the unfortunate reality of violence in our society today. Still, let me assure you that there are no teachers authorized to carry guns on our school campuses.

This practice is part of the District’s ongoing emergency preparation and coordinated in consultation with our local police chiefs, county sheriff, and law enforcement administration; our Board of Education; and executive cabinet members.

Although state law has changed to restrict concealed weapon permit-holders from school campuses, the law still allows superintendents to authorize specific individuals. Not all Folsom Cordova schools have an individual who has been approved. I work regularly with law enforcement and staff to ensure safe and secure storage of firearms at all times, and no individual is permitted to carry a firearm on his or her person on campus during school hours.

Sensibly enough, Bettencourt has refused to divulge the number of location of the firearms involved. From the Q&A page:

We understand that this is an emotional and personal issue for many, and we recognize that the community will have many questions about this practice. While we understand the value of transparency in building and maintaining trust, we cannot disclose details that would make any individuals or District sites a target.

One surprise: the district has only authorized handgun storage. As any police officer trained for active shooter response will tell you, a handgun is vastly inferior to a rifle for armed defense, in terms of accuracy and capacity.

Now that the “hidden guns” policy has been revealed, it’s facing both opposition and support from employees, parents and community members. Whether or not it will be changed remains to be seen. But there’s one thing that won’t change: “The superintendent will not allow anyone – employees, parents, community members – to carry concealed weapons on his or her person during school hours.”

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43 Responses to Folsom Cordova Unified School District’s Hidden Guns Revealed

  1. “The superintendent will not allow anyone – employees, parents, community members – to carry concealed weapons on his or her person during school hours.”

    Except obviously evildoers bent on mass murder, those folks can bring their arsenals…

    • Standard government response really.

      We can have our guns, and you can’t have yours.

      We’ll protect you…honest.

  2. Robert,
    I’m not sure why, but you always butcher the federal gun free school law.

    You read too much into it.

    You either need permisision from the school of a license to possess( or carry) the firearm which must be issued by the state where the school zone is located in.

    It says nothing about being legal on the state level, you can be in compliance with the federal ban but not compliant with the state ban and the reverse is true.

    And being a “resident” of a state had absolutely no bearing on the federal school ban…. None.

    • No, you have to be in compliance with both. Under California law enacted last session and effective January 1, 2016, CCW carriers can carry within 1000′ of a school but not on campus without the express permission of the superintendent. Any firearm OR ammo brought onto a campus must be in a secure locked container, or a violation of the Act occurs. The law was passed despite the lack of existence of a single violent incident involving a concealed carrier on a school campus in the State.
      In this particular case, the superintendent has given permission to some to carry on campus, as allowed by the law. Going one better, the Superintendent of the Anderson Unified School District in northern California issued a statement that gave permission to ALL CCW carriers to carry on campus.

      • Correct. CA banned CCW on school campuses due to gun violence. Which didn’t exist. CCW holders are literally the most responsible and safe group that can be measured, with an arrest rate much lower than police officers.

        Now, only police are “authorized” to carry. Also, concealed means concealed.

      • You didn’t read what I wrote. Rob said federal law requires compliance with state law as well…. It doesn’t……

        You can be illegal under state law and still be valid under federal law at the same time.

    • The wording was awkward, so say the least. I’ve amended the text to try to clarify the GFSZ Act’s provisions.

      But it is true that only residents within a state who have a valid carry license from that state — or reside in a Constitutional Carry state — can be exempted from the Act’s prohibition by State law and/or a school’s permission.

      In other words, if you hold a license from a state outside your state of residence, even if there’s intra-state reciprocity, you’re SOL — even if the state or school in question gives you its blessings.

      Put another way (wikipedia): “Although the Federal GFSZA does provide an exception for an individual licensed to carry a firearm, this exception only applies in the State that physically issued the permit.”

      • The 1990 law that Bush signed was held unconstitutional by SCOTUS in U.S. v. Lopez. The current law was passed in 1994 and signed by Bill Clinton.

      • Robert, that is not correct. Jared is correct. You do not have to be a resident of the state a school is located in, only possess a license from the state where the school is located. You can reside in another state. Many people possess out of state carry licenses.

        • However, you MUST have a permit from the state in question- you cannot be relying on reciprocity.

        • Yes, that’s what I wrote. The license must be from the same state that the school is in. We go over this every flippin’ time this law is talked about. It’s not that complicated!

        • Exactly Dan.

          Robert, you and I both have Rhode Island Pistol Permits. We are both exempt from the federal ban for schools in Rhode Island, it doesn’t matter that we do not reside in RI anymore.

          We are exempt from the school ban in RI…..
          We both don’t live in RI…..
          Residency doesn’t mean jack…..
          Irrelevant….

      • No Rob. Being a “resident” or being in a constitution state is irrelevant. You only need a license from that state (or permission).

    • Two little quirks in the “loosened” Federal law:

      — Not only are permits issued by the state where the school is located the only permits honored under Federal law, excluding any out-of-state permits honored by that state, but that state permit is only valid under Federal law if it is issued with law enforcement oversight. This would appear to make Florida permits invalid, since they are issued through the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.
      — There does not seem to be any exception for an armed off-duty police officer, unless he holds a valid state CCW as well as his badge and police ID. I doubt if any LEOs would have a CCW in addition to to their badge.

      I’m not an attorney — I don’t even play one on TV — but that seems to be the way they wrote the law. My cynical nature thinks they did so on purpose, just to add to the confusion and harassment they started with the original law.

  3. What I find interesting is that this is occurring in California. When Sandy Hook went down, many scorned LaPierre’s ideas of good guys with guns in schools, the bastions of progressive ideology being amongst the loudest of naysayers. Sign of a change in the wind? Will it stand community pressure? Bloomie’s Cali Moms may go…………..

    • I an escaped (i.e., retired) teacher. There are more guns carried by teachers and staff (can’t say about students) on America’s campuses than you might suspect. School administrators often have tacit understandings about campus carry and simply refuse to officially acknowledge the presence of weapons at their schools. This works quite well if both parties understand that discretion and plausible deniability are maintained. Really, that’s all it takes to have an armed school, despite there being formal rules to the contrary. Armed teachers or staff members will protect their students regardless of what the official rules tell them to do.

      • And what state might that be, Mr. Hall, if you don’t mind…

        (BTW, that Administrator is kinda cute…)

  4. “…Ms. Bettencourt admitted that there have been guns on campus for the last six years. …”

    Hmmm, Imagine that. In six whole years those evil guns have not managed to go off all by themselves and hurt children. They must of bought guns that are malfunctioning. Surely ALL real guns are evil and can go off at anytime.

  5. I’m kind of wondering what this lady would be doing if she lived in a free state…she’s really going against the grain of Californistan public-school-dom, with no more than she’s doing there.

    • Inland California is actually pretty conservative. It’s only the major population centers on the coast that are left wing nuts. Unfortunately, they have the votes to dominate state politics. It’s my understanding that concealed carry permits are fairly easy to obtain in San Bernardino which is only 60 miles east of Los Angeles. After the terrorist attack, the lines at gun shops extended out the doors.

      • Yes, my point was pretty much that the “state politics”, including public school politics, seem to be hemming this lady in pretty well, which makes me wonder just how far, 2A wise, she would be going under less lefty-dominated politics.

  6. What if your house it within 1000 feet of the school? Do you forfiet your 2nd amendment rights or is their a “loophole” to let people possess their firearms at home

    • 18 USC 922(q)(2)

      (A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.
      (B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm—
      (i) on private property not part of school grounds;

      (ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision 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;
      (iii) that is—
      (I) not loaded; and
      (II) in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle;
      (iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;
      (v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual;
      (vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or
      (vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities.

      BUT you MUST check your state requirements as well.

    • Not sure, but I think there have been court rulings that stripped the 1000 foot thing at least for people who live within that distance. If that applies to you I would check it out.

      • Not exactly. The prohibition only applies on public property. Therefore it is legal to possess and carry firearms on your own private property. But if your car is parked on a public street, you must transport it unloaded and in a locked container.

        • Yep. Although there is a level of don’t ask, don’t tell. As long as they are cased and you are discreet, you can avoid harassment.

          I have some friends that live literally next door to a school. They will load the car up in the driveway with obviously no problems. If they ride with a friend, they will carry the guns to the car on the street, load, and drive off. They don’t make a big deal about it, they don’t demand attention, they just do their thing and go. And frankly, I don’t think they’ve even given “discretion” any thought – they just don’t act like yahoos.

  7. Gun hero of the day? It a lot better than suspending a child for making a gun gesture with the fingers…..

  8. So as I understand her description of the situation: the district has buildings that are protected by handguns that are locked up somewhere within the building to be accessible by a few authorized individuals, for the purpose of protecting those in the building, and there are no firearms in any school. So they think it’s a great idea to protect the bureaucrats in administration buildings but not kids in school buildings.

    • I think you have misunderstood,. She said no one carries on their person in the schools. She didn’t say none of the weapons is located in a school. Or if she did, I missed it.

    • Most likely, there is at least one gun locked up inside the school and at least one designated person has access to it in case an attack. Although access would be faster if personnel carried on their bodies, that would require deep concealment which limits the size of the gun. Note that she said “firearm”, not “handgun”. That leaves room for the possibility the the “firearm” is an AR platform rifle.

      • After re-reading I admit I misunderstood what she wrote, but, though it’s not in the quoted area of her statement, RF noted that only handguns were allowed so that means no AR’s or any rifle.

  9. Let’s face it, the GFSZA was a stupid law that originally was meant to assure that the junior hoodlums who were caught with guns, in mostly urban schools, would be punished with expulsion. All that would seem to accomplish is to give the delinquent more time to devote to hoodlum activities.
    In addition, the gun-grabbers saw it as a “legislative opportunity” to heap more bureaucratic, legal harassment on lawfully armed, peaceful citizens.
    It’s time that mistake in our legal system was corrected.

  10. I’m shocked. That’s kind of awesome. Here’s hoping they can get further and not be completely hindered by the lack wits who think good thoughts and fairy dreams will protect their kids if the worst should happen.

  11. Does that mean that if I drive past a school on my way to another location and I have my CCW lic. and my firearm with me that I can be stopped and arrested if a police officer checks my car registration and sees that it states that I have a concealed weapon license?
    That is what it sounds like.

  12. So despite all the repulsion and bluster, school districts in San Fran! agreed with Wayne LaPierre that arming schools is the best way to protect children there entrusted? Glad to hear someone is listening…

    • Yes, that is the way it looks.
      Even the socialists have a few people who can pull the blindfold down far enough to see the light of day.

  13. This story can’t be true. One of those teachers would have grown angry with the students and shot them. Sarc/

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