This law was institutionalized in 1995 and the central aspect of this law is the prohibition in possessing or discharging a firearm in a school zone. The definition of a school zone was expanded from the directly on school grounds definition to include one thousand feet (1,000) of public or private school grounds.

Under this law, a firearm is “any device that is designed to be used as a weapon from which expelled through its barrel a projectile through the use of force from any explosion or some other form of combustion.” To be covered under this law, it does not matter if the firearm is loaded or not when found within school grounds. This law is the only exemption from the whole host of laws in California allowing for the open carrying of firearms.

The following are the exemptions from the coverage of the California Gun-Free School Zone Act:

• Sec 12025 of the California Penal Code where concealed weapons in a vehicle are properly secured in a locked container or trunk or to other firearms that are otherwise being lawfully transported;
• Individuals possessing a firearm because of a reasonable fear that their life and safety is in grave danger in accordance with self-defense laws of California;
• Specified individuals authorized to carry concealed weapons, such as those engaged in the business of sale, manufacture or transport of firearms, or their occupation requires them to carry firearms, such as guards or messengers;
• Active or honorably retired peace officers;
• Security guards authorized under Sec 12031 of the California Penal Code to carry loaded firearms;

The following are the acts and the applicable penalties for violation of this Act.

• For illegally carrying a firearm in a School Zone, the penalty would be between two and five years in state prison;
• For illegally discharging a firearm in a school zone carries with it either a three, five or seven year felony prison sentence;

Another penalty imposable would be the removal of the gun from your possession. Then, the individual’s gun rights would be removed. Finally, for a non- U.S. citizen, one of the imposable penalties would be deportation.

The violation of the gun free school zone act is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.