Driving up to the round-about where kids wait to be picked up can present a particular set of issues for any concealed carrier. The central issue: a lot of states do not allow people to carry firearms on campus. But, in order to pick up your kids and comply with the law, you have to disarm and store your gun in the car or leave it at home. What’s the best way of negotiating this unique set of obstacles you’re likely to run into nearly any given weekday? We’ll help you out.
Step 1: Know Your State’s Stance On Guns In School Zones
Example: Michigan versus Indiana
Michigan’s stance is that so long as you are picking up your kid (or the kid you have legal custody of), you’re allowed to go pick up your child while carrying concealed.
Individuals licensed to carry a concealed pistol by Michigan or another state are prohibited from carrying a concealed pistol or a portable device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology on the following premises:
Relevant statute: MCL 28.425o
- Schools or school property but may carry while in a vehicle on school property while dropping off or picking up if a parent or legal guardian
- Public or private day care center, public or private child caring agency, or public or private child placing agency.
Indiana, however, it’s a Class D felony.
Relevant statute: Indiana Code – Section 35-47-9-2
A person who possesses a firearm:
(1) in or on school property;
(2) in or on property that is being used by a school for a school function; or
(3) on a school bus;
commits a Class D felony.
However, there’s an exception in the Indiana code which allows that concealed carrier to possess that firearm so long as he or she remains in the vehicle while picking up the child from school.
Relevant statute: Section 35-47-9-1: Exemptions
(3) A person who:
(A) may legally possess a firearm; and
(B) possesses the firearm in a motor vehicle that is being operated by the person to transport another person to or from a school or a school function.
So, in both of these cases, you’re allowed to enter school premises for a specific purpose: picking up your kid. In Indiana, you need to remain in the vehicle while you have your firearm on you. In Michigan, you can theoretically head in and pick up your kid without an issue. Violating the exceptions clause from the Indiana code can result in a potential Felony charge. So, knowing the nuance of how you can approach that situation is important.
Now, let’s look at one more for perspective — North Carolina.
North Carolina: So long as you have a valid concealed carry permit, you can exit the vehicle to allow someone (such as your child) from entering the car. Otherwise, it needs to be locked in a compartment attached to your vehicle.
Source: North Carolina Firearms Laws, State Attorney’s Office, Page 29/47
i. A person who has a valid concealed handgun permit, or is exempt from obtaining a permit, who has a handgun in a closed compartment or container within the person’s locked vehicle or the handgun is in a locked container securely affixed to the person’s vehicle. A person with a valid concealed handgun permit may also possess the concealed handgun on his/her person while in the locked vehicle on school grounds. This individual may unlock the vehicle to allow another person to enter or exit the vehicle provided the firearm remains in the closed compartment or on the person at all times and the vehicle is locked immediately following the entrance or exit of the vehicle. It would be lawful for a concealed handgun permittee to remove a handgun from a vehicle on school grounds if done so in response to a life threatening situation;
So, as you can see, it’s up to you to know where your state resides on this issue.
Step 2: Find A Solution That Works For You
If you are prohibited by state law from entering a school to pick up your kid, you will probably need to lock up your gun in a compartment in your vehicle. This should ideally be done not in the parking lot of the school but in a secluded area outside the purvey of people actively passing by. Whether that locked compartment affixed to the vehicle is a lock box you’ve bolted into the floor boards or a special compartment you have placed in the trunk is completely up to you. Plan for what you think will work best for your carry style.
If you are allowed to exit your vehicle but not enter the school premises with your concealed carry pistol on your person, arrange with either the school or your child (if he or she is old enough and able) to meet you at a designated spot that is within the observance of school personnel and accessible to you without violating the conditions of the law.
Whichever the case, please remember that your concealed carry handgun needs to be either one of two places at all times while it is in your possession: locked up and secure or on your person. That is for both your safety, abiding the law, and protecting your child from accessing it.