Guns and Schools in CT


October 16, 2006, 11:13 PM
With the recent discussions of school shootings and teachers carrying on school ground, I've recently become uncertain of Connecticut's laws regarding carrying on school grounds. I've done a bit of searching on THR and I was unable to find what I was looking for. I was able to find out that the Brady Bunch claims CT allows carry on school grounds, but I don't like taking their word for anything.

I apologize for being so long-winded, but I wanted to give you the right picture of where I am in researching this.

It appears from federal statutes that Guns are banned from school grounds except for those individuals
licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located

To me, this means that anyone who has a valid LTC, or PTC (as is CT's situation), issued by the State can carry a gun onto school grounds. The federal law goes on to give the states the power to create less restrictive regulations about guns and schools.

The following excerpt from the Connecticut General Statutes implies that the owner of the property can decide whether or not to allow guns on the property. In the case of public schools, this would be the state/board of ed.

(e) The issuance of a permit to carry a pistol or revolver under subsection (b) of this section does not thereby authorize the possession or carrying of a pistol or revolver in any premises where the possession or carrying of a pistol or revolver is otherwise prohibited by law or is prohibited by the person who owns or exercises control over such premises.

Title 53a-217b of the Connecticut General Statutes however, specifically bans carrying on public/private school grounds for some people:
53a-217b. Possession of a weapon on school
grounds: Class D felony.
(a) A person is guilty of possession of a weapon on school grounds when, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, ...

In Subsection (a) we see that it is a crime to KNOW you aren't licensed to carry on public/private school grounds or at school events. The history of this 53a-217b is located on the State's website (link at end). Here's the bit I'm getting confused about:

P.A. 98-129 amended Subsec. (a) to add element that the person know that he is not licensed or privileged to possess a weapon on school grounds and amended Subsec. (b) to delete former Subdiv. (1) that had made provisions of Subsec. (a) inapplicable to the lawful possession of a firearm by a person holding a valid state or local permit to carry such firearm, renumbering the remaining Subdivs. accordingly, and deleted provision that had authorized boards of education and supervisory agents of private schools to prohibit the possession of firearms by students in or on school property or at a school-sponsored activity;

Now that quoted section has me believe that a person holding a valid state/local permit to carry was previously allowed to carry a pistol or revolver onto school grounds. With the passage of P.A. 98-129, individuals with a PTC were no longer exempt from Subsection (a) and thus not considered "licensed and privileged."

So, am I correct in this assertion, or did P.A. 98-129 imply that Subsection (a) already allowed PTC holders to carry on school grounds, and the text removed was implying the wrong meaning of Subsection (a)'s orignal text?

Thanks for helping me understand.

CT General Statutes (
Possession of weapons on school grounds - w/ history (
PA 98-129 (

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Aguila Blanca
October 17, 2006, 01:03 AM
You have me confused. The way I read that law, it sounds like if you have a CT CCW you're allowed to carry on school grounds. You're saying that isn't what it says?

In Subsection (a) we see that it is a crime to KNOW you aren't licensed to carry on public/private school grounds or at school events.
That's not what it says at all. It does not make it a crime to know that you don't have a license, it says it's a crime to carry on school grounds if you know that you aren't licensed to do so. To my simple mind, that suggests that even if a CCW holder isn't supposed to carry on school grounds, unless he/she knows that (which would be difficult, based on the way the law is worded), then he/she isn't guilty of possession on school grounds even if they are found in possession on school grounds.

Only a lawyer could write laws like that.

So does CT issue a special permit for carry on school grounds? If so, where does one apply and what does it cost? If not ... the law makes zero sense.

October 17, 2006, 01:11 AM
You're saying that isn't what it says?No. He's saying he doesn't know, and hoping someone who does will post here.

I'd talk to a lawyer or prosecutor if you're really concerned. THR is a cut above, but I wouldn't depend on legal advice from anonymous people [who I know nothing about]. :scrutiny:

October 17, 2006, 01:37 AM
it says it's a crime to carry on school grounds if you know that you aren't licensed to do so

Yes you're right. That was what I was intending to write, but it came out all confused.

I'm not concerned about anything as I don't see myself carrying a gun onto school grounds in the foreseeable future. I was just looking for more perspectives on the law, hoping to figure it out.

I suppose I should take a hint from the text of the law and give up. I can't be convicted of a crime I didn't know I was committing (at least in this case).

October 17, 2006, 09:37 AM
been confused about exactly this for a long time. I once called the Dept Of Public Safety for Ct and asked them directly,,, Guess what I was told?... (Not sure I believe them though) :rolleyes:

October 17, 2006, 02:05 PM
Here's a link to a 1999 letter to the Hartford Courant written in the wake
of Columbine by Ralph Sherman, a pro-2A lawyer in Connecticut:


"Colorado laws make it a crime to bring a firearm onto school grounds. The
same is true in Connecticut, even for a law-abiding adult who has passed a
background check, taken a safety course, and obtained a gun permit from
the police."

"Yet Connecticut law prohibits good people - parents, teachers, school
administrators - from carrying a handgun on school grounds, even with a
gun permit, even with the gun so discreetly concealed that no one knows
itís there."

The relevant statute was last amended in 1998, so it hasn't changed.

If you're planning to call a lawyer in Connecticut, Ralph would be one to call.

October 17, 2006, 02:44 PM
Great find KGT. I actualy thought of contacting ATTY. Sherman. But I am not seeking clarification at the expense of attorneys fees. All I know is I have kids in school, they play school sports and are involved in other extra curricular activities, and many times I have to drop off a firearm at home before heading to PTCs' and football games. :fire:

October 17, 2006, 03:02 PM
Ah, thank you. That is exactly what I was looking for. The law was last modified in 2001, but not in a way which would affect permit holders from carrying on school grounds.

Thanks for clearing that up.


October 17, 2006, 03:41 PM
A very gray area if you ask me and one that could go either way. It says it is a felony to carry on school grounds unless you have "special license" to do so. It does not say "A special license". Taken in that context the word "license" would be defined as "permission" and not as a piece of paper or document like you might think. As pointed out there IS no "special license" issued by anyone for carrying on school grounds in CT. So I have to wonder exactly who it is that has the authority to grant said "special license". School officials? Law enforcement? I'm pretty sure what the answer would be if you asked either of those groups for "special license" to carry on school grounds.

October 17, 2006, 04:26 PM
Oops, let me amend, having now read the exact wording which I confused in the last post. If you look up the word "License" you'll see that it's definition is simply "permission" and does not relate to anything like a document such as what you call your "driver's license". So when I read the phrase "not licensed to do so" I interpret it as "Not permissioned to do so" or "doesn't have permission to do so". But again, where does this permission come from? Who and how do I ask for it? And what are the chances of getting it? :rolleyes:

November 9, 2006, 02:35 PM
After inquiring here about the legality of carrying a gun on school property, I decided to inquire with the Department of Public Safety and have them clarify the situation. I also asked about carrying in a bar, and open carry, just for good measure.

I'll quote the relevant sections from the letter:

On carrying on school grounds:
The reference to the word "licensed" in subsection (a) of 53a-217b does not refer to the possession of a valid Connecticut State Permit to Carry. A history search of the statute revealed that language in subsection(b) of 53a-217b specifically allowing the carrying of handguns on school grounds by valid permit holders was removed from the statute in 1998. This, in effect brought 53a-217b into alignment with section 29-28, and thus requires persons wishing to possess weapons on school grounds to obtain permission from the board of education or authorized school officials.

On carrying openly:
Section 29-28, subsection (b) allows the issuance of a permit, provided such issuing authority finds that "the applicant intends to make no use of any pistol or revolver which such applicant mayh be permitted to carry under such permit other than a lawful use and that such person is a suitable person to receive such permit." ... "Lawful use" and "suitability" place responsibility on the permit hold to use mature judgment, which dictates that every effort should be made to make sure that no gun is exposed to view or carried in any manner that could tend to alarm people who see it.

Paraphrasing for brevity: If someone is alarmed and police are called, you could be arrested, confiscate your gun, and your permit could be revoked. BPFE has authority to revoke permits and hear revocation appeals.

On carrying in a bar, etc.:
[m]ature judgment also dictates that no handgun be carried on the person (even if concealed) unless the carrying of the handgun at the time and place involved is prudent and proper in the circumstances. Titles 29,53, and 53a of the Connecticut General Statutes contain statutes which require the carry and usage of firearms in a prudent and responsible manner as to not cause public alarm or danger. Some examples include Breach of Peace, Reckless Endangerment, and Threatening. The carrying of a handgun into a bar or other place where alcohol is being consumed is considered inappropriate for the circumstances.

Well there you go. There's no law against carrying in a bar or carrying openly, but do so at your own risk. I do wonder, however, who's "mature judgement" qualifies. I happen to think I'm mature enough to carrying into a bar, or to carry openly.

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