Federal Gun Free Zones

About 25 years ago or more, Congress began introducing bills to prohibit firearms in certain areas and facilities  of the country.

This article is to show a few of them and try to explain what they mean to the general public.


  •  The Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) is a federal United States law that prohibits any unauthorized individual from knowingly possessing a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(25). Such a firearm has to move in or affect interstate or foreign commerce for the ban to be effective.

It was introduced in the U.S. Senate in October 1990 by Joseph R. Biden and signed into law in November 1990 by George H. W. Bush. [Wikipedia.org]

LmspicIn 1994, Congress introduced the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, which encouraged each state receiving federal funds for education to follow suit and introduce their own laws, now known as zero tolerance laws.[2] President Bill Clinton signed the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 into law on March 31, 1994.[1] The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 requires each state receiving federal funds to have a state law in effect requiring local educational agencies to expel, for at least one year, any student who is determined to have brought a weapon to school. The one-year expulsion is mandatory, except when a chief administering officer of such local education agency may modify it on a case-by-case basis.[2] In addition, schools are directed to develop policies requiring referral to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system for any student who brings a firearm or weapon to school.[2]  

The two laws referenced here state that no guns are permitted within 1000 feet of any school property lines. In this country, does anyone really think they can go anywhere within a city or town and NOT be in a school zone? The GFSZA also states; ” Such a firearm has to move in or affect interstate or foreign commerce for the ban to be effective.” What does this mean to you and me? When I drive around town, I am not engaged in interstate or foreign commerce. How does this affect me?

When I was issued my CCW in San Bernardino County, Calif., I was told by the County Sheriff’s CCW Training Facility that this law applies to anyone “working at a school, either as a school employee or as a contractor, or contractor’s employee. It does not apply to a casual visitor to the school for reasons other than working there”. School employees I have talked with have disagreed, of course. They tell me the law applies the same to everyone. No firearms within 1000 feet of a school.

Now with these two laws, which one has jurisdiction? My training tells me the State has the final say-so. The 1994 Act also defers authority to the School Administration on a “case-by-case basis” when referring to a student who brings a firearm to school, but calls for a “mandatory one-year expulsion”. Does any of this make sense to a reasonable person?

Post Offices

post_office_interior_2Under federal law, guns cannot be taken into federal facilities except for “hunting or other lawful purposes” (18 US Code §930).  Most federal facilities will allow guns to be locked in the car while business is being conducted.The Postal Service has a much more expansive policy. They have claimed regulatory authority through the parking lot and even to the public sidewalk beyond.

The First Amendment grants freedom of speech, but yelling “fire” in a crowded building, when there is no fire, would not be tolerated anywhere. All liberties carry with them a certain amount of interpretation. The Postal Service enacted a policy forbidding the collection of signatures on petitions on the public sidewalks outside a post office. They said it would annoy the patrons of the facility. A District Court accepted this as a valid “time, place or manner” restriction of the first amendment. The appellate court disagreed saying the Postal Service had over-reached their authority.

Federal law forbids carrying firearms or other dangerous weapons in a “federal facility” (18 US Code §930(a)). The federal statute defines a “facility” as a building or part of a building owned or leased by the federal government.8 The Postal Service regulation brazenly expands this law designed to ban weapons inside a building to the parking lot outside.9 The Postal Service is adamant that this makes driving into the parking lot with a gun anywhere in the car a federal crime. There is a civil suit filed in Colorado (Bonidy v United States Postal Service 10-CV-02408-RPM in the US District Court for Colorado) disputing the “parking lot” portion of the Postal Service regulation. The outcome will be quite interesting, I’m sure.

Court Buildings

sp_courthouseIn studying the differing State’s laws and regulations regarding the carrying of concealed firearms or other weapons in court buildings, I have found widely varying statutes. Many states forbid weapons of any sort, legally carried or not. Some states will allow carrying by licensed citizens, but only in the common areas of the buildings.

I was permitted to carry concealed in Calif. The law there stated that it was legal to carry (legally, of course) in the Court buildings, but not in the actual courtrooms. The shortfall of this was that you had to get past the security at the door, who had the metal detector scanners installed. If there were no scanners available, most commonly because of space restrictions and budget, you could carry your concealed firearms into the building for business that did not include a court appearance.

It is prudent to take upon yourself the task of knowing the laws in your own jurisdiction. My chief reference for this research was the NCSC, National Center for State Courts.

All Government Facilities

Federal law forbids carrying firearms or other dangerous weapons in a “federal facility” (18 US Code §930(a))

The National Park Service is required by statute to allow concealed carry in the national parks under the same conditions as in the state surrounding the park. However, the National Park Service does not allow weapons in buildings in the national parks. This discrepancy and other regulations are questionable. An agency cannot prevent the exercise of a constitutional right without a compelling need to do so.

I was a civilian volunteer with the Federal Government for many years. I worked with the US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Division. Officially, I was not permitted to carry my weapon while on duty as a civilian. However, there was a time when  I was asked, unofficially I believe,  to use my firearm for work purposes while in the National Forest.

I also worked for some years at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. as a civilian. At that time, no weapons of any kind were allowed on the base for any reason other than Law Enforcement. All cars and persons were subject to random search at any time. The law still stands today, even after the mass shootings at military installations around the country, and the world for that matter.

Any time you enter a Government building you are subject to search at any time. Even the little Social Security Office in my tiny town had a security guard on duty at all times the office was open. We were not allowed to even raise our voice in displeasure of our treatment.

But how easy do you suppose it would be to carry a firearm into a Government building or other facility undetected. I know of people who have done it on a regular basis just because they will never go anywhere without their own personal protection.

State Gun Free Zones

As covered in past paragraphs, States all have their own laws, regulations and statutes regarding legally concealed weapons. It just behooves you to know the laws in your own area and follow them, if you wish. I say “if you wish” because I know there will be folks who won’t go to a place their gun can’t go. Just be cautious.

Shootings In Gun Free Zones

Movie Theatres


150616192218-donald-trump-presidential-announcement-supercut-tsr-vo-00000002-large-169Trump, Oct. 4: “You know that was a gun-free zone in Oregon where they had no guns allowed, no nothing. So the only one that had the gun was the bad guy, and everybody was sitting there and there was nothing they could do. Not a thing they could do”. This quote came from an interview on “Fox and Friends Weekend

This was in reference to the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Oct. 1st of this year. This quote from Mr. Trump is not exactly correct. Umpqua Community College does have policies prohibiting guns on campus, but they “would not apply to those with valid concealed weapon permits pursuant to Oregon law,” quoting a college official.

Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina also called it a”sitting duck” situation in a gun free zone. The confusion is not misplaced.

The school has two policies that prohibit weapons on campus under certain conditions.The school’s student conduct policy states that students cannot carry a weapon “without written authorization.” “Possession or use, without written authorization, of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals, substances, or any other weapons or destructive devices that are designed to or readily capable of causing physical injury, on College premises, at College-sponsored or supervised functions or at functions sponsored or participated in by the College” is prohibited, the student conduct policy states.

The Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting occurred in Marysville, Washington, on October 24, 2014, when 15-year-old freshman student Jaylen Fryberg shot five other students at Marysville Pilchuck High School, fatally wounding four, before fatally shooting himself. Fryberg’s father, Raymond Fryberg, was arrested the following year for illegally purchasing and owning the gun used in the shooting, among other firearms.

At lunchtime, students sat together at one table. Fryberg then entered the school cafeteria and sat down at a different table. At 10:39 a.m., according to eyewitnesses, he stood up, approached the table where his friends were sitting, and had a verbal altercation with them. He then pulled out a .40-caliber Beretta Px4 Storm handgun[3] and fired at least eight shots,[13][14] shooting several students in a “calm, methodical way”.[15] During the shooting, Fryberg was described by a witness as having “a blank stare” and “staring at the victims as he shot them”.[16] He also appeared to be targeting only the table where his friends were sitting. At the time of the shooting, seven students were seated at that table.[12]  [Wilipedia]

October 21, 2013, Sparks, Nevada. 12-year-old seventh-grade student Jose Reyes opened fire with a handgun at the basketball courts of Sparks Middle School, injuring one student in the shoulder. Michael Landsberry, a teacher, and veteran tried to intervene and was shot and killed by Reyes. Reyes also shot and wounded a student trying to help the teacher. Reyes then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The shooting happened before classes, and the school was evacuated and was closed for the week.[266] [Wikiipedia]

All these and many more have all been at what is to believed to be “federal gun free zones”. There are others that were much more publicized, and the Media Circus played them up as far as they could possibly take them. They were all tragedies, of course. They were tragedies that may have been prevented or reduced if they had not been “gun free zones”.

Ben Carson says that “logic and common sense” make clear it’s time to talk about eliminating gun free zones, not guns.

Carson-Getty-640x480Dr. Ben Carson was interviewed recently on WPHT’s Dom Giordano Show,  “Logic and common sense is something that seems to have escaped many people. In fact, when you look at some of these gun tragedies that have occurred, it’s quite amazing how they seem to occur in the gun free zones. A lot of these shooters are people who are mentally unstable, but they’re not so unstable that they don’t recognize that, if I’m going to kill a lot of people, I need to go to a place where people are not likely to have guns and kill me”.


Churches have even been attacked by armed “thugs” in obvious terrorist attacks, and robberies with brutal results. They have always been the epitome of safe havens all over the world. But now parishioners have come to the realization that they must defend and protect themselves while at church. People of all faiths throughout the country are going to their places of worship armed. I personally know some of them, and they tell me the majority of the congregation is “packing heat”.

Do Gun Free Zones Work In America?


Gun-Control-Rally-Indianapolis-Star-AP-Charlie-Nye-640x480This headline and portion of an article were printed on Breitbart.com:  Indianapolis Star/AP/Charlie Nye  by AWR HAWKINS5 Oct 20155,165

On October 2–the day after the heinous attack on innocents in the gun free facilities of Umpqua Community College–New York magazine claimed that the difficulty of pinpointing future criminals should cause the US to rethink its gun policy and consider making the entire country a gun free zone.

They cited Australia as an example of this approach. Ironically, a shooting took place in Australia around 4:30 p.m. on the very day that NY MAG was using the country as an illustration of the benefits of gun confiscation and controls. Fox News reported that the shooting took place in Sydney, leaving “at least two dead.”

It is beyond me how anyone can truly believe that a “Gun Free America” could stand as the shining light that we have been for these last two and a half centuries. Look at the other countries with overly strict gun control laws. The citizens have absolutely no way to defend themselves, and it is evident in the latest world news.

It should be apparent to my readers that I believe in the Second Amendment and the Right to defend myself from all enemies both Foreign and Domestic. I don’t believe in gun free zones anywhere. As so many people have said repeatedly; “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. ” The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. “When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away”.

I know you will have something to say about all this, and I would like to here it. Please leave your comments below in the box provided.



Federal Gun Free Zones – Are They Working? — 9 Comments

  1. This was a very interesting article. I think you brought up a very good and engaging topic. You provided facts and specific events to enhance your question. This was well-written and absolutely clever. I also liked how you cited evidence from (what appeared to be) credible sources, which makes your information credible, as well. Good job!

  2. Hi Barry, it’s a hugely controversial topic (as I’m sure the politicians are finding out). I find it fascinating that the focus is always on the weapons and not the individuals that carry out the attacks.

    I’m not a huge fan of guns but I do accept they have a place in society. I’m a bigger fan of mentally ill people having the facilities available to them in order to receive appropriate support, before they feel the need to make a point and kill people.

    I think there does need to be greater acknowledgement of the dangers that guns pose and that any gun holder should be trained properly (and that applies especially to people in high pressure situations like the police).

    I would have also thought we could develop some form of society that does not unnecessarily expose our children to the risks of guns, and to realise that it is not OK to make the schools gun free but allow the society and homes that the kids return to, to put them at risk. There needs to be a better and more holistic approach, one that engages community leaders and considers a real strategy of protection and not just a reaction to the latest TV headlines.

    • I completely agree. We need a method of treating the mentally stressed folks. If that was handled, a lot of other problems would just go away. Thanks for your views. I do appreciate them.

  3. There’s no way we can ban mentally ill people from having guns. Most of these people we find to be mentally ill are only seen as that way after-the-fact.

    We can’t ban every person for which a psychiatrist or psychologist raises a concern, then we have ban-by-edict so long as they can get a psychiatrist or psychologist to support it.

    What we need to do is to simply proliferate guns. Ensure that the right people have guns at their disposal.

    You know, a lot of talk has been focused on the the ways of getting rid of guns, but even since the time of the Wild West, when have we ever discussed ways of ensuring that the right people have access to guns for the purpose of protection?

    What we should be figuring out, doing studies for, and working towards is how to make guns readily accessible to those who will use them for protection without those guns also being readily accessible to those who would use them to harm others.

    We can find innovative solutions to this problem.

    Maybe a safe inside of teacher’s desk, maybe a wall panel with a biometric reader, maybe a holster that has a kind of child-proof mechanism that is designed to only allow easy-removal of the firearm by the wearer of the holster. Certainly, we can find a angular mechanism that would work for this so that nobody else can easily pull the firearm out of the holster aside from the trusted trained faculty member.

    There are ways of figuring this out, and until we start some serious dialogue about how to proliferate guns throughout the U.S. for the sake of protection, these tragedies are going to continue being a boost for Democrat coffers and political power.

    I guarantee you, once gun-related tragedies stop benefiting the Democrats, we’re going to see a sudden and dramatic drop in the numbers and regularity of these massacres.

  4. I want to explain what I alluded to in my last post where I said “I guarantee you, once gun-related tragedies stop benefiting the Democrats, we’re going to see a sudden and dramatic drop in the numbers and regularity of these massacres.”

    It is not hard to imagine with the NSA archiving of information to find a person that an intel-trained psychiatrist or psychologist could build up a psychological profile on. Special agents could in-turn befriend and influence certain unstable individuals either through online communication or a good friend at the bar to commit acts of barbarism. Would Obama ever actually do that, I don’t know, but it would be possible to do so without anyone finding out about it.

    There are ways to convince psychologically unstable and often less intelligent or otherwise emotionally-motivated people to do things without actually telling them or planning with them how to do something.

    You just become that bird in their ear that constantly bellyaches about something they agree with to emotionally entice them towards compulsion to act. Most all people go through these emotional compulsions to act and do nothing or decide to act in constructive ways. However, psychologically unstable people, as ascertained by top secret psychological profiles conducted by reviewing NSA archives of specific individuals are, by far, more likely to act in dangerous ways.

    I know it seems far-fetched, but it’s not because it’s something that has already been attempted by modern dictators without NSA archives of everything we do online, and it’s something that’s completely plausible since the archiving of all of our activities and personal information online.

    It’s something I would definitely do if I were president and interested in taking away the 2nd Amendment. Only I wouldn’t use American agents. I would use INTERPOL agents using the data collected by the NSA. I would use INTERPOL because since Dec 16, 2009, that executive order giving INTERPOL full diplomatic immunity also prevents any U.S. agency from investigating the activities of INTERPOL on U.S. soil.

    • Thank you for your comments on my article. You bring up some very interesting points here. Mass proliferation of guns is something entirely new to the conversation. I do agree that if the right people had access to firearms for protection, there would be less violence overall.
      It’s also possible, I suppose, that the gov’t administration could conspire to forcibly take over the country. I think, however, that this is unlikely because of all the Patriots with weapons we now have. The present administration probably has certain fears that they would “lose that arguement”. Thanks again for your thoughts. Please come back and visit again soon.
      Regards, Barry

  5. Hello Barry!
    I ready enjoyed your article. I live in France and guns are totally prohibited, I think it’s better this way
    I don’t know the American government is allowing people just like you and me to carry guns. I am interested in the American politics and I think that there are a lot of bad things about it.

    The paradox in the american politics that amazes me the most is the prohibition of Kinder Surprise. (Chocolate egg with a surprise inside) but they don’t prohibit guns!

    Can you explain why is this happening in your beautiful country? I think it might be for financial purposes. Because guns can cost a lot of money.

    Thank you sir.

    • Thanks for your comments. There are many things in this country I don’t agree with. Kinder Surprise is feared to maybe have “bad surprises” inside, like poison or drugs, etc. Gun possession is guaranteed by our Constitution, but chocolate eggs are not. Cars kill people more than guns, but no one tries to ban cars. Someone could be killed with a sharp pencil, but they aren’t banned.

      Gun possession was guaranteed because the founding fathers were afraid of our own gov.t someday getting too large and trying to “take over” too much. Long story. Maybe something for an article in my site.

      Thanks again for your thoughts.


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