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A Test Case on School Carry?

School carry has always been a gray area in Pennsylvania. The law on weapons in schools is less than clear:

(a) Definition.–Notwithstanding the definition of “weapon” in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime), “weapon” for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nunchuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

(b) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

(c) Defense.–It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.

I’ve followed lawyerly advice and considered schools to be off limits, but I tend to think that if you faithfully interpret this statute in the best light for the defendant, carrying with an LTC for self-defense is a “lawful purpose”, and thus a valid defense.

Well, it looks like someone in Confluence, PA carried a gun into a school and got caught, so we would seem to have a test case. Prosecutors are prosecuting. The guy apparently was trying to make a point. I guess the Somerset County District Attorney felt the need to do the same. Another story here. PAFOA thread here.

5 Responses to “A Test Case on School Carry?”

  1. Patrick H says:

    Actually there already was a test case. But because the guy won, its not precedent setting. It would have to have been appealed to do that. More info here

    However, the more cases the better, and maybe this one will be appealed.

    The big problem I see with the law is that its an affirmative defense (a poster on that on PAFOA thread mentioned it). Even if a LTCF is a lawful defense, a malicious officer and/or prosecutor could still force a trial.

  2. Bryan S. says:

    Rep Saccone’s 2 tier Constitutional Carry bill has a provision that clearly defined self defense as a lawful purpose for carry in schools.

  3. Zermoid says:

    I love this stupid comment:

    “Any idiot knows you shouldn’t bring a gun into a school,”

    So, I think adults bringing a legal, licensed to carry gun to school IS Ok. Guess that means I’m not an idiot like those who think you shouldn’t, correct?

    • Alpheus says:

      I also like the assumption that the only reason you would bring a gun to school, is because you’re up to no good.

      Either that, or you’re paranoid that something bad might happen! I mean, who ever heard of someone being kidnapped from school, or of some schizophrenic nutcase taking guns to school and shooting kids and teachers alike? What sort of “scary” world do you think we live in?

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