SB 707 Creates Tough Decisions for School Officials About Whether to Prohibit or Allow Concealed Firearms on School Campuses
On October 10, 2015, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 707 (SB 707). SB 707 amends the Gun Free School Act of 1995 (Cal. Penal Code § 626.9) to remove an exception allowing an individual with a concealed carry firearm permit to enter a school campus with a firearm.
The Gun Free School Act of 1995 prohibited a person from possessing a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is within 1,000 feet of a public or private school. (Cal. Pen. Code § 626.9). However, a person could possess a firearm in a school zone if the person obtained a valid concealed carry permit (obtained in accordance with Penal Code section 26150), obtained the permission of the school’s superintendent, or satisfied another exemption.
SB 707, which took effect on January 1, 2016, permits a person with a concealed carry permit to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, but not on the campus. The bill maintained “the ability of a school district superintendent, or equivalent school authority, to provide a person with written permission to carry a firearm on school grounds.” (SB 707 Senate Analysis).
SB 707 eliminates the exception that allowed a person with a lawful concealed carry permit to possess a firearm on a school campus without receiving permission from the school’s superintendent. SB 707 allows persons with a concealed carry permit to be within 1,000 feet of a school campus, however such individuals are no longer permitted on the school campus without the superintendent’s written permission. Thus, the only way a person can possess a firearm on a school campus is with the superintendent’s written permission.
SB 707 allows each district and county board to decide for themselves whether individuals with a concealed carry permit should be allowed to carry a firearm on school campuses. The change seems to follow a larger legislative trend of moving important decisions from a state legislative level to a local one. Therefore, each district and county board must carefully decide for the community each represents how SB 707 will be locally applied.