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Each state receiving Federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) must comply with the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 which prohibits firearms to be brought within 1,000 feet of school property. Although part of this legislation was not upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez, the legislation still stands, as various other gun control bills have been debated but not passed as of 2002. The following is an extract from the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994.

SECTION 14601. Gun Free Requirements … each State receiving Federal funds under this Act shall have in effect a State law requiring local educational agencies to expel from school for a period of not less than one year a student who is determined to have brought a weapon to a school.

State laws repeat stipulations required by this Act almost verbatim, for example, the following Florida provision:

FLORIDA: a person who exhibits a sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, destructive device, or other weapon, including a razor blade, box cutter, or knife … at any school-sponsored event or on the grounds of facilities of any school, school bus, or school bus stop, or within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school, during school hours or during the time of a sanctioned school activity, commits a felony of the third degree. (790.115)

Laws regarding weapons at school may change in the near future as school safety bills being debated by different states are acted upon. For more information, contact the appropriate state’s Department of Education.

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