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§ 16-11-127.1. Carrying weapons within school safety zones, at school functions, or on school property
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "School safety zone" means in, on, or within 1,000 feet of any real property owned by or leased to any public or private elementary school, secondary school, or school board and used for elementary or secondary education and in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the campus of any public or private technical school, vocational school, college, university, or institution of postsecondary education.
(2) "Weapon" means and includes any pistol, revolver, or any weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind, or any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, any other knife having a blade of two or more inches, straight-edge razor, razor blade, spring stick, metal knucks, blackjack, any bat, club, or other bludgeon-type weapon, or any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain, or any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart, or any weapon of like kind, and any stun gun or taser as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 16-11-106. This paragraph excludes any of these instruments used for classroom work authorized by the teacher.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person to carry to or to possess or have under such person's control while within a school safety zone or at a school building, school function, or school property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school any weapon or explosive compound, other than fireworks the possession of which is regulated by Chapter 10 of Title 25. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than ten years, or both; provided, however, that upon conviction of a violation of this subsection involving a firearm as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 16-11-131, or a dangerous weapon or machine gun as defined in Code Section 16-11-121, such person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or by imprisonment for a period of not less than five nor more than ten years, or both. A child who violates this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of Code Section 15-11-63.
(c) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to:
(1) Baseball bats, hockey sticks, or other sports equipment possessed by competitors for legitimate athletic purposes;
(2) Participants in organized sport shooting events or firearm training courses;
(3) Persons participating in military training programs conducted by or on behalf of the armed forces of the United States or the Georgia Department of Defense; (4) Persons participating in law enforcement training conducted by a police academy certified by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council or by a law enforcement agency of the state or the United States or any political subdivision thereof;
(5) The following persons, when acting in the performance of their official duties or when en route to or from their official duties:
(A) A peace officer as defined by Code Section 35-8-2;
(B) A law enforcement officer of the United States government;
(C) A prosecuting attorney of this state or of the United States;
(D) An employee of the Georgia Department of Corrections or a correctional facility operated by a political subdivision of this state or the United States who is authorized by the head of such correctional agency or facility to carry a firearm;
(E) A person employed as a campus police officer or school security officer who is authorized to carry a weapon in accordance with Chapter 8 of Title 20; and
(F) Medical examiners, coroners, and their investigators who are employed by the state or any political subdivision thereof;
(6) A person who has been authorized in writing by a duly authorized official of the school to have in such person's possession or use as part of any activity being conducted at a school building, school property, or school function a weapon which would otherwise be prohibited by this Code section. Such authorization shall specify the weapon or weapons which have been authorized and the time period during which the authorization is valid;
(7) A person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10, when such person carries or picks up a student at a school building, school function, or school property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school or any weapon legally kept within a vehicle in transit through a designated school zone by any person other than a student;
(8) A weapon which is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle which is being used by an adult over 21 years of age to bring to or pick up a student at a school building, school function, or school property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school, or when such vehicle is used to transport someone to an activity being conducted on school property which has been authorized by a duly authorized official of the school; provided, however, that this exception shall not apply to a student attending such school;
(9) Persons employed in fulfilling defense contracts with the government of the United States or agencies thereof when possession of the weapon is necessary for manufacture, transport, installation, and testing under the requirements of such contract; (10) Those employees of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to carry a weapon;
(11) The Attorney General and those members of his or her staff whom he or she specifically authorizes in writing to carry a weapon;
(12) Probation supervisors employed by and under the authority of the Department of Corrections pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, known as the "State-wide Probation Act," when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the director of the Division of Probation;
(13) Public safety directors of municipal corporations;
(14) State and federal trial and appellate judges;
(15) United States attorneys and assistant United States attorneys;
(16) Clerks of the superior courts; or
(17) Teachers and other school personnel who are otherwise authorized to possess or carry weapons, provided that any such weapon is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle.
(d)(1) This Code section shall not prohibit any person who resides or works in a business or is in the ordinary course transacting lawful business or any person who is a visitor of such resident located within a school safety zone from carrying, possessing, or having under such person's control a weapon within a school safety zone; provided, however, it shall be unlawful for any such person to carry, possess, or have under such person's control while at a school building or school function or on school property, a school bus, or other transportation furnished by the school any weapon or explosive compound, other than fireworks the possession of which is regulated by Chapter 10 of Title 25.
(2) Any person who violates this subsection shall be subject to the penalties specified in subsection (b) of this Code section.
(3) This subsection shall not be construed to waive or alter any legal requirement for possession of weapons or firearms otherwise required by law.
(e) It shall be no defense to a prosecution for a violation of this Code section that:
(1) School was or was not in session at the time of the offense;
(2) The real property was being used for other purposes besides school purposes at the time of the offense; or
(3) The offense took place on a school vehicle.
(f) In a prosecution under this Code section, a map produced or reproduced by any municipal or county agency or department for the purpose of depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1,000 feet of the real property of a school board or a private or public elementary or secondary school that is used for school purposes or within 1,000 feet of any campus of any public or private technical school, vocational school, college, university, or institution of postsecondary education, or a true copy of the map, shall, if certified as a true copy by the custodian of the record, be admissible and shall constitute prima-facie evidence of the location and boundaries of the area, if the governing body of the municipality or county has approved the map as an official record of the location and boundaries of the area. A map approved under this Code section may be revised from time to time by the governing body of the municipality or county. The original of every map approved or revised under this subsection or a true copy of such original map shall be filed with the municipality or county and shall be maintained as an official record of the municipality or county. This subsection shall not preclude the prosecution from introducing or relying upon any other evidence or testimony to establish any element of this offense. This subsection shall not preclude the use or admissibility of a map or diagram other than the one which has been approved by the municipality or county.
(g) A county school board may adopt regulations requiring the posting of signs designating the areas within 1,000 feet of school boards and private or public elementary and secondary schools as "Weapon-free and Violence-free School Safety Zones."
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