Recent legislative changes effective January 1st, 2016 make it lawful to openly carry firearms in the state of Texas under certain circumstances. The new open carry legislation is currently being reviewed and interpreted by various governmental entities, including but not limited to the Attorney General of Texas. Therefore, the interpretation and release of information concerning the application and effect of these laws with respect to public schools is ongoing.
OPEN CARRY FAQ
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed into a school building?
No, Texas law prohibits open or concealed carry of handguns and other prohibited weapons on physical premises of a school or educational institution. The term " premises" is defined by law as a building or a portion of a building.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed on school grounds and other buildings on school property?
Texas law also prohibits open or concealed carry of handguns and other prohibited weapons on any grounds or buildings which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted. While Texas law does not define the terms "grounds" or "school sponsored activity", Connally ISD interprets these terms to include all district property where students are regularly present during regular school hours, and other hours determined by individual campuses, including, but not limited to:
- Playground areas.
- Practice fields.
- Sidewalks and courtyards used by students that connect buildings and temporary buildings on school campuses.
- Outdoor areas used for science experiments.
- Areas of parking lots in which temporary buildings are located.
- Parent drop off and pick up lanes and/or areas as determined by each campus at a minimum one hour before the start of school and one hour after dismissal.
- Board meetings.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed in school parking lots. driveways, and other parking areas?
Yes, but only during times when a school sponsored activity is not being conducted in the parking lot, driveway or other parking area. For example, if the school parking lot is used for band practice after school, handguns/firearms or other prohibited weapons cannot be carried openly or concealed on that parking lot when the band is practicing. However, during the time when the parking lot is used solely for vehicles, open and/or concealed carry by parents and other visitors is lawful in these areas.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed on public sidewalks or walkways surrounding school campuses?
Yes, as long as no school sponsored activity or event is being conducted.
- Can handguns/firearms be carried openly or concealed at school sponsored activities or events?
Texas law prohibits open or concealed carry of handguns and other prohibited weapons at school sponsored activities or events regardless of whether the activities or events occur on or off school property.
- Are Connally ISD campuses required to post signage regarding the prohibition against open carry in school buildings?
Connally ISD does have signage posted at it's campuses and other buildings to serve as a friendly and courteous reminder. However, Connally ISD is not required to post signage to address open carry, because the law expressly prohibits the carrying of handguns (openly or concealed) inside school buildings, any grounds or building where a school sponsored activity/event is taking place, in school district passenger vehicles, and at school board meetings.
- Are Connally ISD employees allowed to possess and/or carry handguns (openly or concealed) on school district property?
Connally ISD Police Officers whether in uniform or plain clothes normally carry firearms. State law does provide an option for the District to have school marshals who would be specially trained members of staff per state law to also carry firearms, The District will not confirm or deny the presence of armed marshals at campuses or facilities. Board policy prohibits employees from bringing firearms on District property.