States that allow teachers and school staff to carry guns

9 Mar , 2018  

UPDATED: October 8, 2018 (ORIGINAL March 7, 2018): After the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, a number of states have considered allowing teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns.  The obvious question is how has it worked in the states that allow guns to be carried.  For example, here is information on accidental shootings and insurance premiums after they allow teachers to carry.  There are no known cases where a teacher or staff member has had their gun taken from them.
After the Parkland attack, there is evidence that strong interest by many teachers in carrying.  In one Ohio county (Butler), there were 50 requests by teachers for training within 20 minutes of the local sheriff offering training, with 300 teachers eventually signing up before the window was closed on more applicants.  It isn’t clear how many teachers in that county were already carrying.
Here is a list of the state laws with laws that allow carrying and notes on whether there are actually school districts in that state that have teachers and staff carrying. Surprisingly, few states maintain comprehensive lists on the schools that allow teachers and staff to carry (see for example, Oregon).
Alabama (which bans possessing a weapon on school grounds only if the carrier has “intent to do bodily harm“)
Arkansas (with approval of the superintendent) — February 26, 2018,  twenty teachers in Clarksville, Arkansas are carrying concealed handguns.
California had allowed concealed carry on school grounds until it passed a law in 2015 that required the approval of the school administrator.  However, beginning on October 14, 2017 a new law took away that authority from school administrators (more here).  Up until that date, five school districts allowed teachers or staff to carry concealed handguns. Kingsburg Joint Union High School District in Fresno County, Folsom Cordova School District, Kingsburg Joint Union High School District, and two other districts, though we haven’t identified those other districts. The Kern High School District Board of Trustees  voted to allow teachers to carry guns in June 2016, but it doesn’t appear that the action ever went into effect.
Colorado (with approval of school board” — As of July 2018, at least 30 school districts and charter schools allow teachers to carry guns, though this information is from the state’s largest insurer of schools so it does not provide a complete total. In addition, the insurer does not provide a list of those school districts. Some of the ones that publicly acknowledge that teachers and staff are armed include: Hanover School District, Fleming School District, “some” other school districts, and Briggsdale School District. No training requirements are contained in state law.
Georgia  (with school board approval) — In Laurens County it has become a “reality.”
Hawaii (no specific law)
Idaho (with school trustees’ approval) “a handful” of school districts allow staffers and teachers to carry, and here
Indiana (2013 law that lets school boards decide) February 23, 2018: “most don’t. more might start.” One example is the Portland, Indiana school district.
Iowa (with “authorization”) — no district currently allows.
Kansas (school districts may allow employees with concealed-carry permits to carry guns on campus if the district does not have a policy prohibiting it)
Massachusetts (with approval of the school board or principal)
Michigan (School boards can ban carrying of guns) In a narrow 4-3 decision, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in July 2018 that school districts have the power to ban the carrying of guns on their property. While state law prohibits a “local unit of government” from, among other things, banning the possession of firearms, the issue in the case was whether that applies to a school district. The state Supreme Court ruled that school districts were not a “local unit of government.” No local school districts had tried adopting prohibitions until 2015.
Minnesota (with approval of School Superintendent) — some do it
Mississippi (with school board approval)
Missouri (with school board approval) As of February 2018, some of the school districts include: the Fairview school district, School of the Osage, Warsaw School District. In March 2018, Crocker School Board Approved Arming Teachers
Montana (with school trustees’ permission) — In 2017, Belfry, Custer, and Lima school districts allowed teachers and staff members to carry. Another school district allowed a former teacher to carry.  Two others allow current staff members to carry, but they weren’t currently carrying.
New Jersey (with approval from the school’s “governing officer”)
New York (with the school’s approval)
Ohio (with school board approval) — in 2015, at least 40 School Districts in Ohio allow Teachers to Carry Permitted Concealed Handguns.  By the end of 2016 that number was over 175 school districts. More have clearly adopted this policy since then. Teachers in at least 82 of Ohio 88 counties have received training to carry guns.
Oregon (any permit holders, many school districts prevent employees from carrying) An example of a school district that allows teachers and staff to carry is the St. Helens School District (about 30 miles Northwest of Portland).
Rhode Island (with a state concealed weapons permit)
South Dakota ( “school sentinels” law authorizes districts to create, establish and supervise the arming of school employees, hired security personnel or volunteers.) Two school districts as of May 2018: Mellette and Tri-Valley School
Tennessee (allows certain school employees to carry a firearm on school grounds if they are licensed, meet certain qualifications, and have written authorization from authorities)
Texas (with the school’s permission) — As of June 2018, Texas Association of School Boards says 217 school districts in 134 Texas counties allow staff and board members to carry firearms onto school premises
Utah (any teacher or staff member with a concealed handgun permit can carry) — about 5% of the public school teachers in the state carry and about 10% to 12% of the support staff.
Virginia (with School Board approval — On July 12, 2018, Lee County School Board votes to arm teachers and pay for their guns. Chairman Michael Kidwell said, “The only way to fight a gun if somebody comes through these doors with a gun to shoot our students, is with another gun.”) But the Democratic administration in Richmond turned down the county’s application to register as an armed special conservator of the peace.
Washington — Eight schools in the Toppenish School District have nineteen administrators who carry. The Kiona-Benton School District also has a similar policy.
Wyoming (in 2017 a law was passed that left the decision up to the local school boards. 24 hours of training required.  “The Park County School District No. 6 board in the town of Cody voted 4-2” on April 17, 2018.)
Sources for information available here, here, here, and here.Despite some claims to the contrary by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Alaska doesn’t allow teachers or staff with a concealed handgun permit to carry on school property. A bill was brought up before the state legislature earlier this year, but it failed to get passed.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Education Commission of the States both say that only eight have teachers and staff carrying guns, but they list different states in among those eight states and both have clearly missed most states.
Bills enacted into law during 2013 for Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas (the NCSL as of July 2013 had all these states but Oklahoma).  Obviously, Georgia’s law was enacted during 2014.  If you are interested in a list from a very left-wing anti-gun group, you can go to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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3 Responses

  1. MikeyParks says:

    The outcry before carry legalization is always “Allowing the carrying of guns will result in turning this into Dodge City – gunfights in the streets and innocents murdered in their beds.” Yet this has NEVER been the case. In fact, the opposite can be demonstrated. So when will the doomsters ever learn their lesson? Gun prohibitions only affect the law abiding. The criminal never has had any prohibitions and never will.

  2. David M. Bennett says:

    Michigan needs clarification. Open carry is only allowed with a valid concealed carry permit (let it never be said gun laws make sense). That said the law is actually being litigated as some school districts are trespassing lawfully armed adults despite state preemption laws.

    In my humble opinion, a shoot-out is better than a massacre and teachers should be ‘allowed’ to exercise their constitutional right to carry. Un-infringed, the Second Amendment is self-mitigating. I find it hypocritical that the very same suspects responsible for the creation of ‘Second Amendment-free Zones’, blaming the same constitutional right for the predictable carnage that results in these gun-free areas.

  3. […] carry concealed handguns if they wish is a much less expensive alternative. There are currently 18 states that have at least some schools where staff and teachers […]

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