Which States Allow Guns in Schools?

By Andrew Lu on January 15, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, gun control laws and guns in schools are the talk of the town. In fact, New York is poised to pass the "toughest" gun control laws in the country today.

But is all this talk really just talk? If states were truly concerned about gun violence, especially gun violence in schools, wouldn't just about every state ban carrying guns on school grounds?

Yet, if you take a close look at state laws, you'll see that more than a third of the states actually allow teachers and other adults to carry guns in schools, reports NBC News.

Currently, 18 states allow adults to carry loaded guns onto school grounds, with a few caveats. In general, the only thing that an armed adult needs in those states is the equivalent of a principal's note to carry a weapon, according to NBC News. In other words, you don't need law enforcement approval.

And in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the list of states that allows adults to carry guns in schools may actually expand. That's because there is a belief in some circles that by arming adults like teachers and other school personnel, this will better protect children. Presumably, the thinking is that if an armed gunman like Adam Lanza were to come onto the campus of one of these schools, teachers could prevent the killings by engaging in a shootout with the gunman.

Texas already allows teachers to carry firearms to work, so long as the principal approves it. And Alabama lawmakers have proposed legislation that would give schools the option of letting their teachers or administrators carry guns, reports NBC. One school board in Ohio has even voted to allow school janitors to carry guns, the Toledo Blade reports.

The full list of the 18 states that allow guns in schools with certain restrictions, according to NBC News, are:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

States that are considering whether to allow guns in schools include Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee. To learn more about gun laws in your state, check out FindLaw's page on State Gun Control Laws.

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