K-12 schools in Ohio have the power to authorize staff and others to carry firearms as part of the schools’ security programs. And a few days ago the school board of Montpelier Village, Ohio decided to put an end to make-believe gun free zones and “voted unanimously to allow four employees who have permits to carry concealed weapons to bring their guns to school.”
However many people don’t know that Virginia law also empowers K-12 schools to authorize teachers, staff, and others to carry firearms on school grounds.
Va. Code § 18.2-308.1 generally bans possession of firearms on public and private K-12 school grounds, but provides safe harbors for three groups of people: (1) persons with concealed handgun permits carrying concealed inside vehicles; (2) persons, including students, who possess “unloaded firearms inside a vehicle in a closed container (such as a trunk), or . . . firearms rack;” and (3) persons who possess firearms as a part of the school's curriculum, activities, or “any program sponsored or facilitated by either the school or any organization authorized by the school to conduct its programs either on or off the school premises.”
Nothing in Va. Code § 18.2-308.1 authorizes schools to allow concealed carry on school grounds, so persons authorized by the school to carry firearms would be exempt from criminal penalty under Va. Code § 18.2-308.1, but not exempt from the concealed carry ban at Va. Code § 18.2-308 unless they hold a concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to that section.
It is likely that some school administrators in Virginia have contemplated authorizing gun carry for themselves and others at their school, and may already have done so – especially at private schools which are not subject to Virginia's Freedom of Information Act allowing the public to demand to inspect public school records. But since nobody’s reported seeing their teacher or football coach open carrying at the pep rally, it’s likely that such persons are concealed carrying.
Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave supports allowing not just school employees but also parents and others with concealed handgun permits to carry concealed handguns in K-12 schools on public safety grounds.
"Why not,” asks Van Cleave? “Though a few Virginia schools may allow select employees to carry on school grounds, most will never do this, even though a sizeable share of the general public carries concealed or openly almost everywhere else in Virginia where school children and other congregate."
"Guns save lives," added Van Cleave.
UPDATE (February 10, 2013): NBC News reports - Guns already allowed in schools with little restriction in many states. NBC mistakenly omitted Virginia from the list of states allowing teachers to carry guns in schools persuant to Va. Code § 18.2-308.1.