New Bill Would Repeal Law that Can Turn Open Carriers into Prohibited Persons

A gun free zone sign is posted at Palo Duro High School Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. (Photo: AP Photo/Amarillo Globe-News, Michael Schumacher)

The federal Gun-Free School Zone Act (GFSZA) has got to go.  It’s problematic for two reasons.  First, gun-free zones are soft targets for would-be mass murderers.  Second, the three-decade-old law has the potential to turn well-intentioned gun owners into instant lawbreakers. 

Thankfully, this week, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) reintroduced the “Safe Students Act,” H.R. 3200, which would eliminate GFSZA.

“Gun-free zones are ineffective and make our schools less safe. 98 percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in places where citizens are banned from having guns,” Rep. Massie said in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica. 

“Banks, churches, sports stadiums, and many of my colleagues in Congress are protected with firearms,” he continued.  “Yet children inside the classroom are too frequently left vulnerable.”

Co-Sponsor of the legislation Jeff Duncan (R-SC) agreed that making schools soft targets is foolish.  

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“The only thing gun-free zones do is disarm law-abiding citizens and take away their ability to protect themselves and others,” said Duncan. “We shouldn’t leave our most vulnerable – our children – in an unsafe environment like gun-free zones where acts of violence cannot be stopped.”

As alluded to earlier, the other reason to repeal GFSZA is the effect it may have on constitutional carriers, unlicensed open carriers and licensed concealed carriers traveling outside of the state that issued their permit.   

See, there is an exemption in GFSZA only for permitted carriers in their home state, (and even then, you should double check relevant state and municipal laws as there are probably restrictions on the manner in which you carry in the designated zone and bans on carrying the firearm in the school itself or on school property).    

Everyone else, however, can be prosecuted.  Because it’s a federal law it doesn’t matter if the state has enacted constitutional carry or permit-less open carry.  If you travel within 1,000 feet of a school you can be charged under GFSZA, which can land you a $5,000 fine, five years in jail and a “prohibited person” designation.  

Prohibited persons are permanently banned from possessing firearms.  In other words, when you violate GFSZA you risk losing your 2A rights forever.  

Currently, H.R. 3200 has the following cosponsors in the House: Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Jody Hice (R-GA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), James Comer (R-KY), and Brian Babin (R-TX).

Hopefully it picks up steam in the months ahead.  We’ll keep you posted.  

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Ken December 27, 2021, 10:52 am

    We need to actually starting referring to these politicians as what they really are. They are socialists/ communists disguised as democrats. That party was taken over under the term progressive or left leaning. And disarming you, this is there goal! To erode your gun rights and your rights in general! Give them an inch and they will take a mile! Only in this case comrade it’s to subjugate you! This can’t be done while a population is armed! So I guess their mantra would be. 1st they took the assault rifles . Then they just took the auto loader shotguns . Then then came for the semiauto handguns.the they came for all the handguns . Then they said they had to have the hunting rifles and shotguns to. Too make us all safe ! Then they started coming to take away the people they said were dangerous too! The very recipe to kill a Republic !

  • Andrew N. July 26, 2019, 5:56 pm

    No way should this law be repealed! It’s not the law’s fault the mass shooters came to the Gun Free Zone armed to the teeth. They probably just didn’t realize it was a gun free zone. After all, all they wanted to do was kill a bunch of people, not violate the gun free policy. Had they known, they would have probably picked another place to shoot up, like a gun store or police station. Did I mention I love Hilary Clinton and hope she runs again? ( Based on the perspective of a Libtard Dimwit’s mind. To quote Clint Eastwood-“If you could reason with a Democrat, there wouldn’t be any Democrats.” )

  • Joe June 15, 2019, 5:49 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me about just how freaking stupid politicians are nowadays. They keep making these dumb laws which do nothing but criminalize law abiding citizens. If they had any common sense at all, they would see that the gun free zones only soften the area, for only law abiding citizens follow the law, but not the CRIMINALS. I wonder when are these idiotic politicians going to wake the f*@k up and for once start using their brains to make common sense gun laws.

  • Michael J June 14, 2019, 8:08 pm

    Every ballot measure for more school funding is always about money for teachers, administrators, stadiums and libraries. Nowhere has there been mentioned hardening school campuses against attack from nuts shooting in their gun free zones.
    They always say it’s about the children, but we all know that’s B.S. as evidenced by the news. Start spending that money on armed Campus police or sue these educators, politicians and bureaucrats for a unsafe learning conditions after all, “It’s for the Children “.

  • Bill June 14, 2019, 7:52 pm

    The whole falacy of gun free zones can be summed up in the incontrvertible truth of this statement… One man’s gun free zone is another man’s target-rich environment.

  • Lee Lemon June 14, 2019, 11:43 am

    If Trump gets wind of it, he’ll enhance the anti gun zones to be broader, considering how anti 2A he seems to be.

  • Newell Anderson June 14, 2019, 8:57 am

    I thought I recalled that this federal statute was overturned in a San Antonio case 25 years ago. I thought the Court Ruled the Feds couldn’t over ride the State. But then I am a Farmer so recollection of the Law is poor!! Somebody smart comment😐

    • Rich Zellich June 14, 2019, 3:26 pm

      You remember correctly. It was overturned as unconstitutional, since the Federal government has no power to legislate matters occurring within a state, unless a matter of interstate commerce is involved.

      The Court noted as an aside that no interstate-commerce nexus clause had been included in the law but, even if it had been, the law would still have been unconstitutional because there was no actual nexus.

      Congress thumbed its collective nose at the SCOTUS, and responded by re-passing the exact same law with the addition of a one-sentence interstate commerce clause.

  • Mac1pine June 14, 2019, 6:09 am

    I’m for it, but unless the Right regains the House in 2020, it won’t pass muster….

  • Dwane June 14, 2019, 6:03 am

    Federal District Judge denied Parkland students their case. She said the police had no duty to protect them. They were not in custody. So how do the students have protection? Armed parents, teachers and staff. Get rid of the unconstitutional Gun Free Zone.

  • Jaque June 13, 2019, 9:08 pm

    Ahh yes. One must view any act that criminalizes their use of a constitutional right……in fact the 2nd Amendment is not a right but instead a law that tells the government to not infringe on an individuals right to bear arms, a natural right. So these lawmakers propose repealing a law that in itself should be unconstitutional But we all know the constitution is only adhered to if it is in the governments interest. It is my opinion that gun free zones exist today for the very reason they attract mass killers. The lawmakers want mass killings…….as many as there can be so that public opinion will ultimately result in bans and confiscation of all arms in civilian hands.

  • Sepp W June 13, 2019, 5:50 pm

    This will never get of the House. The Dems agenda is to disarm, not repeal laws that restrict, regulate, or prohibit a firearm and they are the House majority.

    • Mark N. June 14, 2019, 1:40 am

      I completely agree. And even if the federal law is repealed, any number of states adopted their own state law versions. California has a supermajority of democrats in both houses and an antigun Governor, making any repeal a total nonstarter. Not that it matters: California banned loaded open carry in 1968, and unloaded open carry in 2013 (for handguns) in all urban areas.)

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