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Pennsylvania generally prohibits the possession of firearms 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.1 However, schools may apply to a court to allow certain security personnel–including law enforcement officers employed by the school and independent contractors–who have met specified training standards to carry firearms.2

In addition, a defense to the statute exists where the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or “is possessed for other lawful purpose.”3 There has been recent litigation in Pennsylvania courts regarding the scope of the exception for possession of weapons on school property for “other lawful purpose[s],” and Pennsylvania courts have urged state lawmakers to review and clarify this language.4

State law prohibits hunting with a firearm in a “safety zone,” defined as an area within 150 yards of “any attached or detached playground of any school, nursery school or day-care center.”5

People who have valid licenses to carry a firearm are subject to these location limits.

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  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 912.[]
  2. 24 Pa. Stat. § 13-1302-C.[]
  3. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 912(c).[]
  4. See Commonwealth v. Goslin, 156 A.3d 314, 318, fn. 4 (PA Super. Ct. 2017.); Commonwealth v. Edwards, 217 A.3d 387, fn.7 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2019).[]
  5. 34 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2505(a), (c).[]