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Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds

Gun violence at schools across the nation in recent years has led to many states enacting further restrictions on the possession of weapons and firearms on all types of educational property. In Florida, possessing a weapon or discharging a firearm on or near school grounds is a felony offense.

Because of the highly sensitive nature of these kinds of crimes, prosecutors will often seek the toughest possible punishments for alleged offenders. People can face these charges even when they have valid concealed weapons licenses.

Lawyer for Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds in Tallahassee, FL

If you have been arrested for allegedly possessing a weapon or discharging a firearm on or near any kind of school property in Florida, you should seek legal representation right away. Pumphrey Law works tirelessly to get criminal charges for alleged gun crimes reduced or possibly even dismissed.

Our criminal defense attorneys in Tallahassee also serve many surrounding communities, including Port St. Joe, Graceville, Perry, Marianna, Malone, Blountstown, and Wewahitchka. We can evaluate your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (850) 681-7777 for a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Possession of a Firearm on School Property in Leon County


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Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds Charges in Florida

Except as authorized in support of school-sanctioned activities, Florida Statute § 790.115 prohibits people from exhibiting or possessing certain types of weapons on or near school property. It is a third-degree felony for an alleged offender to exhibit any of the following in the presence of one or more persons in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner at a school-sponsored event or on the grounds or facilities of any school, school bus, or school bus stop, or within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school, during school hours or during the time of a sanctioned school activity:

  • Sword;
  • Sword cane;
  • Firearm;
  • Electric weapon;
  • Electric device;
  • Destructive device;
  • Dirk;
  • Knife;
  • Metallic knuckles;
  • Slungshot;
  • Billie;
  • Tear gas gun;
  • Chemical weapon or device; or
  • Any other deadly weapon.

It is also a third-degree felony for an alleged offender to willfully and knowingly possess any of the above items at a school-sponsored event or on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop. If an alleged offender discharges a firearm at a school-sponsored event or on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop, it is a second-degree felony.

A person is allowed to carry a firearm at a school-sponsored event or on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop in the following scenarios:

  • In a case to a firearms program, class or function which has been approved in advance by the principal or chief administrative officer of the school as a program or class to which firearms could be carried;
  • In a case to a career center having a firearms training range; or
  • Within the interior of a private conveyance of a vehicle if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.

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Possession of a Firearm on School Property Penalties in Tallahassee

Under Chapter 10.21 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions, a prosecutor must prove all four of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict an alleged offender of improper exhibition of a firearm or other weapon at or near school property:

  • The alleged offender had or carried a firearm or other weapon;
  • The alleged offender exhibited the firearm or other weapon in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner;
  • The alleged offender did so in the presence of one or more persons; and
  • At the time, the alleged offender was at a school-sponsored event or on the grounds or facilities of any school, school bus, or school bus stop, or within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school, during school hours during school hours or during the time of a sanctioned school activity.

Criminal charges for possession of a firearm or other weapon on or near school property are largely the same, although a prosecutor does not need to prove that the alleged offender exhibited the weapon in any way. Alleged offenders who discharged firearms or exhibited weapons in lawful self-defense cannot be found guilty of these crimes.

Exhibiting or possessing a weapon or firearm and discharging a firearm on school grounds is punishable as follows:

  • Third-Degree Felony
    Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000; and
  • Second-Degree Felony
    Up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

A conviction for a felony offense can have dramatic consequences for an alleged offender. In addition to a damaging criminal record that can impact possible employment opportunities, convicted felons also their rights to own or possess firearms.


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Florida Resources for Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds

  • Florida Statute § 790.115
    View the full statute for possessing or discharging weapons or firearms at a school-sponsored event or on school property. You can learn more about related misdemeanor offenses for storing or leaving a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a minor who obtains the firearm and commits any of the violations listed on this page. The statute also outlines procedures for minors under 18 years of age who are charged with possessing or discharging a firearm on school property.
  • Florida Students for Concealed Carry
    Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization composed of college students, faculty, and others who believe that people with concealed weapon licenses should be allowed carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Florida has chapters at the Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of North Florida, and the University of South Florida. The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that would have allowed concealed weapon license holders to carry concealed weapons on college and university campuses, but the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman refused to schedule a hearing for the legislation.
  • Discipline Actions for Students and Weapon Offenses
    Visit the website of the Florida Department of Education to learn more about disciplinary actions against students for weapon and firearm offenses, and trespass on school property with a firearm or weapon. Also find information on the duties of the district for school safety issues and student discipline.

    Office of Safe Schools
    325 West Gaines Street
    Room 554 Tallahassee
    Florida 32399-0400
    Phone: 850-245-0416
    Fax: 850-245-9978


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Find a Lawyer for Possession of a Firearm on School Property in Tallahassee, Florida

Were you arrested in Florida for allegedly exhibiting, possessing, or discharging a firearm or other weapon on school property? Regardless of whether you had a concealed weapons license, you could face severe criminal penalties.

The Tallahassee criminal defense attorneys of Pumphrey Law represent clients throughout Madison County, Leon County, Jackson County, Gulf County, Calhoun County, and Taylor County. You can have us review your case during a free consultation by calling (850) 681-7777 or filling out an online contact form.


This article was last updated on August 15, 2016.