Author Topic: Carrying in PA  (Read 1416 times)

wmitchell

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Carrying in PA
« on: November 30, 2015, 05:45:35 PM »
I know that in Pennsylvania I am not allowed to carry on public or private school grounds. I also know that I can legally carry in churches. However, my children go to a private school that is run by the church and school is held on the church property. So the church doubles as a church and a school.

My question is, can I legally carry my weapon when I need to visit the school and it is in session on the church grounds, or when there is a school activity on the church grounds? It seems like it can be a confusing situation. Does it depend on the activity being at the church, or does it depend on it being school or a school related activity?

Thanks,
Wayne

TexasLawShield

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Re: Carrying in PA
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2015, 04:12:36 PM »
wmitchell,

We have no case law directly addressing the issue.

The law prohibits possession of firearms “in the buildings of [and] on the grounds of” any school through 12th grade. This prohibition is not specific to how the “buildings” or “grounds” are being used, or when they are being used. It makes no reference to school being in session. As a result, we have to recommend staying off of any school grounds and staying out of school buildings with firearms, regardless of the timing or purpose. Keep in mind that this offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree, and a conviction will mean permanent loss of firearms rights.

For schools run by a church, where the line is drawn between school and church grounds is not entirely clear. There is certainly no bright line test that we can provide, because neither the courts nor the legislature have provided one. If the property is used for school activities, a prosecutor could certainly fashion an argument that they are in fact school grounds.

If by “church grounds” you mean the church’s property where school activities are held, then we are likely dealing with “school grounds” under the statute, even though the church owns the property. We would advise AGAINST carrying a firearm in such an area.

If by “church grounds” you mean a completely separate church building that is located on the same plot of land as the school, that is a different issue. Again, we have no bright line rule at the moment.

wmitchell

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Re: Carrying in PA
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2015, 03:28:24 PM »
Thanks for your reply.

As a clarification, school is held in the church building itself. There isn't one building for the church, and one for the school. The building is a church that runs a private Christian school. So, I'm assuming that even though the building is a "church", it is somehow considered a school when used for that purpose.

Isn't it magical how the law can change one thing into another!!